Westsider Books


One day I hope to inherit a crumbling manor from a long-lost relative in England.  I will build big fires in the stone hearth overtaking the living room, take my girls on romps through the green and dewy grounds, and explore the shelves of dusty books in the library.  The fact that I have no English ancestry does not deter me from this fantasy.  Sometimes you gotta do what you can to get through another winter afternoon in your two bedroom apartment that you share with two small children.  When I tire of merely dreaming of this unlikely scenario and desire some visual confirmation that it exists, I head to Westside Rare Books.

This shop is small and cramped.  It has the  beyond cool ladder that attaches to and glides over bookshelves that reach the ceiling.


Books are everywhere: piled on the staircase that cuts through the center of the store, on the stand out front, and even on the floor (along with some vinyl records that I won’t tell my husband about).

If I’d written this post 5 years ago I would tell you to visit here before the giant Barnes and Nobles on 83rd and Broadway runs it out of business.  Now, I would say visit here before everyone starts reading on their kindles.   Then again, the shop seems to be thriving despite all modern convenience has thrown its way, so maybe the best advice is to visit it not because you are trying to save a shop that seems out-of-place in modern times, but simply because it is worth seeing.  Especially if you need to collect some books to display in your manor (or beach house, or cabin in the woods, or other dream space).

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