NOV. 30

Remember, my hours vary from week to week, and the shop is also open by appointment. Give me a call if you want to come by before or after my usual hours.


Portrait of Bonnie with cookbooks

It has been my great pleasure to serve up a delicious selection of cookbooks to customers near and far for the past 18 years.

I just realized that it’s my anniversary! I opened my first bookshop, in a basement office on Washington Place and Barrow Street, in October of 1997, so I am 18 years old (if only). What was I, crazy? I was trying to set up and run a business while simultaneously working at a day job (at a small publishing company). I sent out hand-written announcements and some sort of press release. Florence Fabricant wrote about me in the Times, and the article appeared the day before Thanksgiving–a day when even the most disinterested are likely to glance at the Dining section. As often happens, Ms. Fabricant’s piece was the shot heard ’round the world, the phone started ringing, and soon it was time to leave the day job (I was conveniently laid off) and devote myself full-time to the shop.
      Look at all the changes in the book business since then. Where are the Barnes & Noble stores that once graced every third corner in midtown? For that matter, where is the B&N flagship store—the textbook store, where frugal students bought their books secondhand? And B. Dalton, Waldenbooks, Tower Books, Border’s? Gone, baby, gone. But it’s not as if there are no bookstores left in the city, and we certainly have our share downtown. There’s Three Lives & Company, in the Village for more than thirty years now; McNally Jackson, a relative newcomer that’s become a neighborhood hub; St. Mark’s Books, starting afresh on East Third Street; BookBook, rudely displaced by a Marc Jacobs “bookstore” a few years ago, now thriving farther east on Bleecker; and (everyone’s favorite bookstore name of all time), Unoppressive Non-Imperialist Bargain Books on Carmine Street. I hardly need to mention the Strand, for both new and used books—don’t ever forget that it, too, is an independent, family-owned business.
      We’re lucky also to have plenty of shops filled with used, out-of-print, and antiquarian books (and records, CDs, prints, photos, posters, maps). If you come into mine, I’ll hand you a list and map of both kinds of stores (the list is also on the Neighborhood page of this website). I love the responses this brings: “Really? There are still that many?” “Wow, I thought all the bookstores had closed!” No, they haven’t. And with your help—that is, your patronage—they won’t.
      By the way, the same is true of the neigborhood (non-chain) drugstore, hardware store, and coffeeshop. The prices may be a little higher (remember, this is an individual—not a multinational corporation—dealing with insane overhead, taxes, and fees). But in the long run, it’s well worth the cost.
      If you live in New York City, please support City Council action on the Small Business Jobs Survival Act (SBJSA) or similiar legislation. You can find out all you need to know at www.savenyc.nyc/ BREAKING NEWS! A 26th COUNCILMEMBER JUST SIGNED ON, SO WE HAVE A MAJORITY! THANK YOU, JIMMY VAN BRAMER!
      And happy anniversary to US!     — Bonnie


A photo of the inside of Bonnie Slotnick cookbooks

As you can see, the new shop is much bigger than the old one. There are lots of places to sit, including — now that the weather is warmer — the back garden. There’s plenty of floor space for visiting pups to play (or nap) while their human companions shop. The table is more often covered with books than with snacks, but goodies will appear on occasion. If you’d like to start a cookbook group or give a talk or bring a class or hold a culinary or literary meeting, let’s talk!

Ellis Island Cookbook cover

The ideal souvenir of a visit to New York: Tom Bernardin’s Ellis Island Cookbook. I also carry the wonderful 1961 Greenwich Village map that Tom has had reprinted. Read about it here.

Italian cookbooks

The Italian cookbooks fill four shelves and, in times of true abbondanza, overflow onto the table. The earliest title currently in the shop, The Italian Cook Book by Maria Gentile, is dated 1919 and was published in New York by the Italian Book Company.