172 Allen St., nr. Stanton St.; 212-777-6028
Specializing in radical polemics, this bookstore is a fabulous place to make a like-minded friend or pick a political fight with a stranger.
143 Seventh Ave., nr. Garfield Pl., Park Slope; 718-783-3075
This cozy, wide-ranging Park Slope institution offers a pleasing idiosyncrasy over corporate sensibilities, including readings by local authors.
52 Prince St., nr. Mulberry St.; 212-274-1160
Though her parents operate the large Canadian chain of the same name, Sarah McNally’s Nolita offshoot is a completely independent—and personal—venture more likely to spotlight little-known writers.
Three Lives & Company
154 W. 10th St., at Waverly Pl.; 212-741-2069
This indie stalwart stays true to the spirit of Gertrude Stein (author of Three Lives) via an enigmatic shelving policy that fosters interaction between customers and staff.
126 Franklin St., at Milton St., Greenpoint; 718-383-0096
The shop's biggest draw may be on the blond-wood fiction shelves, where small placards with punchy reviews from staffers help browsers venture off the beaten track.