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A Fuse #8 Production
Inside A Fuse #8 Production

Saying Goodbye to Bank Street Bookstore

Photo from 2015 of the opening of the Bank Street Bookstore in its new location

This pandemic in which we find ourselves has taken a lot from each of us. It has leveled families, and destroyed whole economies, and shuttered businesses. Here in Evanston, we have two bookstores in particular that I’ve been watching closely and worriedly. Maybe you all have your own bookstores you’re monitoring. Of course, it never occurred to me to worry about the old bookstores I used to visit when I lived in NYC. Maybe that’s why it hit me so hard to hear the Publishers Weekly article Coronavirus Shutters Longtime NYC Children’s Bookstore.

When I first moved to NYC, the Bank Street Bookstore was located next to the Bank Street College of Education. Logical enough. But, this being New York, high rents forced it to move down the road a smidge in 2015. That was early in the same year that I high-tailed it to Evanston, but many of the things I liked about the space survived. I had small children that very much enjoyed the elaborate puppet shows that Andy Laties and his fellow employees would put on, and I think I may have even signed there at its reopening, sandwiched between Rebecca Stead and Deborah Heiligman (which is a good place to be sandwiched, let me tell you).

For years I stopped in the store to see the latest books coming out. Even when I was the Youth Materials Specialist of NYPL, I found that a trip to the Bank Street store always yielded something I hadn’t seen, or made it clear that one series or another that I hadn’t paid much attention to before was popular with the kids. I purchased with some of the store’s influence in mind.

Bank Street Bookstore, I am very sorry to see you go. Now it’s gone the same route as other classic shuttered NYC children’s bookstores of the past, most notably Eeyore’s. Here’s hoping more bookstores might be in the city’s future. It’s just awful to see them go.

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About Elizabeth Bird

Elizabeth Bird is currently the Collection Development Manager of the Evanston Public Library system and a former Materials Specialist for New York Public Library. She has served on Newbery, written for Horn Book, and has done other lovely little things that she'd love to tell you about but that she's sure you'd find more interesting to hear of in person. Her opinions are her own and do not reflect those of EPL, SLJ, or any of the other acronyms you might be able to name. Follow her on Twitter: @fuseeight.

Comments

  1. I’m so sorry to hear about the closing of BanK Street Bookstore! It certainly was a great place to hang out in NYC.

  2. I live directly across the street from the store and used to live two blocks from the old location. The staff has seen my girls grow up, from me bringing them in strollers, to them walking in with me, to them going there to shop on their own. This is a tragedy for children’s books and for my neighborhood.