The city has eight million stories, and this one unfolds just south of 14th Street in Manhattan, mostly on the seven blocks of Fourth Avenue bracketed by Union Square and Astor Place. There, for nearly eight decades, from the 1890s to the 1960s, thrived the New York Booksellers’ Row, or, more commonly, Book Row. This illustrated memoir features historical photographs and is richly anecdotal, and as American as the rags-to-riches tale of the Strand, which began its life as a book stall on Eighth Street and today houses 2.5 million volumes in twelve miles of space. A story cast with colorful characters: like the book dealer George D. Smith; the irascible Russian-born book hunter Peter Stammer, the visionary Theodore C. Schulte; Lou Cohen, founder of the still-surviving Argosy Book Store; gentleman bookseller George Rubinowitz and his legendarily shrewish wife, Jenny, Book Row remembers names and places that all lovers, readers, buyers, sellers, and collectors of books should never forget. Rising rents, street crime, urban redevelopment, television are many of the reasons for the demise of Book Row, but in this volume, based on interviews with dozens of the people who bought, sold, and collected there, it lives again.
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