July 17, 2017
Great news for anyone who think NYC needs fewer books, more coffee
by Susan Rella
Yes, everyone with a brain loves coffee. Artistic writerly types have relied on the delicious drug for centuries, and bibliophiles are renowned for savoring a cuppa while they peruse all the books they’re not going to buy (just kidding; actually bookstores with cafés have higher book sales than those without). And even book publishers really, really, like coffee, sometimes organizing events at very nearby coffee houses just as an excuse to drink more coffee. Mmm, coffee. Yay, books! Coffee and books. The perfect combination. How can anyone ever get upset seeing these two words together in a sentence?
Answer: when a coffeehouse takes over the location of what was once a glorious bookstore. (Bet you thought that was a rhetorical question up there, didn’t you?)
At Gothamist, Nell Casey writes that local coffee chain The Bean, known primarily for not being Starbucks but also for being really goddamn territorial with their outside benches, is setting up shop in the old location of the much-loved, and much-mourned, St. Mark’s Bookshop, at 31 Third Avenue in Manhattan. The bookstore moved down to 3rd Street in 2014, after their landlord, Cooper Union, refused to lower their rent. After a couple years of continued financial woes later, the store was completely shuttered last year.
It’s slightly ironic that The Bean is taking over the space, as The Bean was forced out of its first location by a Starbucks in 2011. Now, the mini-chain has several locations — including one on Broadway, just across from the Strand.
This new location of The Bean is perfect for all those people who think the branch at Second Ave. and 3rd St. is too far away (.29 miles), and who just don’t feel like making the trek to the First Ave. and 9th Street outpost (.26 miles).
Susan Rella is the Director of Production at Melville House, and a former bookseller.