Report by Marilyn Berkman, Auxiliary Board Member, WNBA New York Chapter
St. Mark’s Bookshop must leave its location at Third Avenue and Ninth Street, which New York WNBA members visited on our 2012 tour of Manhattan independent bookstores, because it cannot afford rent escalations. A new space has been found in the East Village, but the Bookshop needs funds in order to move and build out the new store.
St. Mark’s is one of the oldest independent bookstores in New York City and the only one remaining in the East Village. Since being founded in1977 by its two co-owners, Bob Contant and Terry McCoy, it has been known for its selection of literature, poetry, cultural theory, politics, graphic design, magazines, journals and cutting edge art and photography. Emphasis is placed on small presses and the equal representation of women authors. There is also an open, non-judgmental consignment policy for self-published titles. St. Mark’s provides a free reading series that features local authors.
The Friends of St. Mark’s Bookshop committee has launched an Indiegogo campaign to raise funds. Discounts on future purchases and gift certificates are being offered for even small contributors. Those who contribute $250 to $5,000 will receive thank-you gifts of one-of-a-kind first editions signed and personalized by authors who have generously donated these works to the Bookshop. These authors include Junot Diaz, Anne Waldman, Patti Smith, Paul Auster, Lydia Davis and Eileen Myles, among others. View the campaign here, and learn more about the shop.
Funds are needed by the end of April. Those who value the presence of an independent brick-and-mortar bookstore in the East Village, one where you can expect to find the unexpected, are being urged to please share and back this project NOW. And, of course, to buy books. Those who visit St. Mark’s Bookshop in the next month or so can see a special art installation by the European artist Wolfgang Berkowski. Books can also be ordered online which has a live update of inventory.
Disclosure: I have a connection to St. Mark’s beyond that of a writer, editor and reader. Co-owner Bob Contant is my husband and I also have an investment in the Bookshop.
St. Mark’s Bookshop,
31 Third Avenue
New York, NY 10003
Subway: 6 to Astor Place,
N/R to 8th Street,
L to 14th Street/3rd Avenue