The New Yorker has a video and short article up regarding the imminent closing of The
Community Bookstore on Court Street in Brooklyn. It wasn’t the (surely deliberate anachronistic and ridiculous getup of the) New York Times reporter or the man-on-the-street soundbites about what went on in that pretty that I enjoyed, but the walk down my old neighborhood, scene of many a walk while I composed the perambulatory (and thankfully never finished) God Coffee, I Miss You. It was a paean to my time in Brooklyn and those blocks sandwiched between 2nd Place and Atlantic Avenue, fresh out of college and living the life of Riley, where I spent a lot of my weekends and mornings after having worked until all hours at Avalanche, a hip little new media company on Hudson Street (near the offices of Viking Penguin and many a literary agent), home to the venerable BorderEqualsZero, in Cobble Hill Park, watching the nannies from the islands congregate while their charges ran around the grass in the middle of the beautiful brick buildings in that neighborhood.
The Community Bookstore was just down the street from that park, and I’d go in and pick up a used book or two, or three, all in the name of fleshing out this novel, or the next one, or the next. There was the flashier, cleaner BookCourt down the street and the even bigger and flashier Barnes & Noble across Atlantic Avenue, and, of course, I’d browse through those, as well, but with my student-loan saddled shoulders, I came away with the most books from the Community Bookstore. While it was a good deal messier, it reminded me, for sheer volume and the sense that books had digested the room, of the back closet on my grandfather’s porch of a three decker in Worcester, Massachusetts, where books lined every shelf, in all states. It was a sort of magical space, where who knew what you were going to find, but it was likely going to be worth the archeology, whatever it was.
If you’re in the area I highly recommend stopping by for the sheer experience of it.