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Thursday, July 10, 2008

I Heart the Strand

I heart books © Nina Corvallo

I love books. I am old fashion that way. I like to read from a book. And I like to look at art in books.
I used to live right next to the Strand and that further encouraged my love for books.
Yesterday I spent a leisurely hour on the second floor of the Strand browsing through art books. Signed copies of Todd Hido's House Hunting, the re-edition of Alec Soth's Sleeping by the Mississippi, a new monogram on Helen Levitt and so many more.
I walked away with a copy of Taryn Simon's An American Index of Hidden and Unfamiliar, an extensive (& well priced!) George Stubbs catalog and some other books. And today I think I will return to get Malick Sidibe's Chemises.
The Strand employees all love books too and are usually all helpful and friendly and even patient.
While looking for a specific George Stubbs catalog I talked to one very young Strand employee, describing to him the catalog, telling him it had a horse on the cover and he deadpan and sweetly replied: "Don't they all have horses on it?" And yes of course they do. And yes that might sound like a lame story, but to me it was a heartwarming exchange. It was a glimpse of the New York I grew up in where not every store was a nail parlor, real estate office or mega chain store. I know everyone complains about how things change, but it is undeniable that New York has changed. Especially Times Square and downtown.
The Strand is a bastillion of the old guard. If you have never been and you come to New York spend some time there. I think they now have air conditioning but still no cappuccino bar, but you wont' miss it.

The Gotham Apple ©Nina Buesing (plainpicture)

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