April 16, 2014

Rizzoli Bookstore vows to return


Rizzoli Bookstore Via Rizzoli USA

Rizzoli Bookstore
Via Rizzoli Bookstore

Like the Terminator, but fancier, Rizzoli Bookstore fully intends to be back before too long. The well-appointed store shut its doors last week, but the owners are determined to find a new location in New York, James Barron writes for the New York Times.

Known for its beautifully laid out space, with chandeliers, ornate bookshelves, and balcony with iron railings, Rizzoli has been at its spacious location on West 57th Street since 1985, but with its lease expiring this year, the owners of its building—the Vornado Realty Trust and the Lefrak family—have decided to tear it down, along with two adjacent buildings.

Exact plans for what will replace the bookstore have not been disclosed, apart from a statement from a spokesperson for the owners saying that they did not include condos. It’s a valid concern, because as Barron points out, wealthy buyers have been staking claims in the 1,004-foot skyscraper going up at 157 West 57th Street, and two even taller buildings joining it soon.

Rizzoli, meanwhile, is determined to remain a New York institution. Pam Sommers, a spokesperson for the store, said that while a new space hasn’t been determined yet, Rizzoli is “definitely reopening” and has a short list of “several interesting properties.”

The plan to reopen will come as welcome news to fans of the store, especially if it can recreate the experience of their iconic midtown location. Barron describes some of the patrons who visited Rizzoli during its last week in business—including an architect who made three trips in a single week, carting architecture books away in a rolling suitcase, and a tourist from Georgia who had long intended to make Rizzoli her first stop on her first visit to New York, only to be dismayed to find it in the midst of shutting down.

Until a new and equally elegant location is found, people who never made it there will have to live vicariously through this video tour from the Rizzoli Bookstore website:


Nick Davies was a publicist at Melville House.