In 1977, a young, 40-something Woody Allen, in between muffled sobs and nervous, furtive glances at a framed portrait of then-president Gerald R. Ford, sagely remarked “there is something pleasant about New York City.”
Now, a book store is closing.
The book store is very nice you guys. It probably has wooden floors and exposed ductwork and lots of frieze. Or furze? One of those. Nearby, a sleepy black cat reposes on a stack of the complete works of Susan Sontag. The bleating drone of a saxophone song meanders about the room, as if to say “fuck amazon’s predatory pricing model.”
Six months ago, the book store was purchased by Chrysanthemum Heinz, millenial. Chrys is a very nice young man. He is wearing a green sweater. It was Chrys’s idea to start serving dark brown coffee inside of the book store, although nobody bought any. Since he took over the shop, back rent to the city of New York has reached $673,000.
The book store opened in 1924, next to what were then a hardware shop that sold hand tools, a dairy with milk in little glass bottles, and a store that sold cultural signifiers of obsolescence. Its original owner, Christos Stamatopolos, was a seminal figure in establishing the neighborhood’s Semi-Little Greece West neighborhood. When asked if he would miss reading the books, Stamatopolos chuckled wryly.
Neighbors agree this is the saddest thing since that Polish-Armenian deli on North 107th street closed. You know the one. “It is gentrification” said Julie Eg, 23, wiping her eyes with a trust fund.
Asked to comment, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg said “I am not the fucking mayor anymore. Please leave me alone”