These two wonderful people are siblings Garth and Margo Johnston, who reached out to me when I lost my lease. They are now my landlords, or, as I prefer to call them, my “angels.”
28 East Second St.
New York, NY 10003
My usual hours are 1–7 pm, six days a week (with the closed day varying from week to week). Please call ahead to check for weekly variations the schedule; my hour are here on my website, on my voicemail, and posted in front of the shop. I’d also be happy to make an appointment at a time convenient for you.
Worldwide shipping, gift certificates, registries, and free gift wrapping always available!
Mastercard, VISA, AMEX, Discover (both credit and debit), personal checks, and traveler’s checks accepted. Oh yes, cash, too. PLEASE NOTE: AS OF MARCH 3, 2016, I WILL NO LONGER ACCEPT AMAZON VISA CARDS. I HAVE NO INTEREST IN ENCOURAGING PEOPLE TO BUY MORE ON AMAZON.
“DO YOU BUY BOOKS FROM INDIVIDUALS?”
I hear this question every single day. Yes, of course I do! That’s where I get 99% of my stock. I don’t usually buy entire collections; I carefully choose books that suit my shop. **PLEASE DO NOT BRING IN BOOKS TO SELL WITHOUT SPEAKING TO ME FIRST.** The easiest way to show me what you have is by taking digital photos of the books on shelves or in stacks, so that the spine titles can be read, and emailing those to me. If you have fewer than a dozen books, call and read me the titles. Donations are also welcome!
PREACHING TO THE CHOIR
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 opened the first incarnation of my bookshop in a basement office on Washington Place and Barrow Street in October of 1997. 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; 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/
And happy anniversary to US! — Bonnie
SUNDAY, MARCH 26, 3 - 6pm: Meet Jessica Reed, author of the new The Baker’s Appendix
Please come by for a cup of tea and something sweet — and to meet Jessica Reed, author of The Baker’s Appendix: The Essential Kitchen Companion, with Deliciously Dependable, Infinitely Adaptable Recipes.
Can you use an 8-inch-square pan when the recipe calls for an 8-inch round? How much is 5 grams of baking powder if you have measuring spoons but no scale? Is a spoonful of kosher salt the equivalent of a spoonful of table salt? What does “Gas Mark 4” mean in a British cookbook?
The answers are in The Baker’s Appendix, an ideal reference manual for any home baker. There’s every ingredient substitution you could ever need, metric conversions, high-altitude baking adjustments, explanations of historical measurements (“butter the size of an egg,” “teacupful”), plus basic recipes for quickbreads, cookies, cakes, and frostings with myriad variations.
Beyond providing numbers, formulas, and substitutions to make baking easier, the book includes recipes for homemade flavoring extracts and food colorings and an excellent bibliography of baking titles. The Baker’s Appendix is a modestly sized volume that can go right in the drawer with your spatulas and cake testers. You’ll pull it out to read while the layers cool or the custard thickens.
Baker/writer/designer/artist/historian Jessica Reed is one of my favorite customers. We first bonded, years ago, over an underappreciated old book called Victorian Cakes, and since then have shared our love of vintage cookbooks and baking history. Jess lives in Brooklyn with her husband and their daughter.
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!
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.
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.