a bookish walk in NYC, part 2
If you missed part 1, you can read about the Morgan Library here.
On our second springtime day in Manhattan—the day of our loooong walk—we wandered through Madison Square Park, the cherry (crabapple?) blossoms starting to fade a bit, but still lovely, and the larger trees turning green.
We walked past the original home (built in 1893) of famous publishing house Charles Scribner’s & Sons.
We said hello to Patience and Fortitude, the magnificent lions lounging outside the New York Public Library.
And when we were standing at the corner of Fifth Ave. and East 59th Street, about to head into Central Park, I got a text from a friend at home who had just heard we were in New York that weekend. Included in her recommendations of a few places to visit and an Italian restaurant was her favorite bookstore, which happens to be on East 59th. So we turned right, walked just a few blocks out of our way, and found the utterly delightful Argosy Book Store. We completely missed the elevator and therefore limited ourselves to just the first floor, but the shop is apparently six floors tall, filled with used, out-of-print, and antiquarian books, plus old prints and maps.
After our rather lengthy, unplanned bookstore interlude, we made our way back to Fifth Ave. and into Central Park. While we enjoyed a tea and lemonade break at the rather idyllic Conservatory Water, I half expected Stuart Little to sail by in one of the remote-controlled boats.
Our next lengthy, mostly unplanned interlude (aren’t they the best kind on a wandering sort of day?) was the amazing Metropolitan Museum of Art. To continue the day’s bookish theme, we saw an exhibit on the Japanese Tale of Genji, written by a noblewoman in the early eleventh century and generally considered the world’s first true novel. Afterwards, trying to navigate our way out of the museum, we got “lost” in ancient Egypt. And then we spent an inordinate amount of time in the museum’s wonderful bookstore.
And then it was off to the turning-around point of the day’s long walk: a sweet little neighborhood bookstore at the corner of Madison Ave. and E. 93rd Street, appropriately called The Corner Bookstore.
In just one room, they have a marvelous selection of books in floor-to-ceiling cases lining the walls, and a children’s section tucked inside the counter-height cases in the middle of the room.
It definitely makes our list of nontraditional tourist spots you should visit the next time you’re in Manhattan.