Coliseum Books

Coliseum Books


Neighborhood: West 40s
Type of Place: Books

On some things, tourists and native New Yorkers easily agree. Such as:
This city is very expensive (What do you mean, $3.00 for an iced
coffee?!); navigating Greenwich Village is never very easy (Cornelia Street?
Yeah, it's around here...somewhere); and Coliseum Books is a great
shop. Visitors will find tourists poring over guidebooks and maps, natives
looking through the store's eclectic stock, and members of both camps
enjoying snacks from the adjoining cafe, hearing authors read as part of
the shop's ongoing series, and snapping up some of the Coliseum's
hard-to-find-elsewhere offerings.

In this cookie-cutter-retail age, it's great to see that you can't keep
a good indie down. The Coliseum had been in business and
well-loved for 27 years when, in 2002, its previous lease (on 57th Street) ended
and its rent soared, leading to its closure. But the following year,
the store reopened 15 blocks south and reunited much of the staff that
had been with the original shop for years. The cafe has been added as a
new feature, and has proven a convenient and comfortable one.

We love visiting this shop both when we're looking for a particular
book and when we're just looking. No one minds how long you browse. The
poetry, music, theater, and film sections are wonderfully broad. Even the
music played in the background is interesting and chosen with care. And
though we suppose that some of the books available could be gotten for
less at a chain, the prices are perfectly reasonable and the sales
downright exciting. (A recent sale on art books had us carrying more to the
register than we actually have room for at home but hey, they'll fit
just great on the floor-to-ceiling bookshelves of our future, much
bigger apartment. Right?)

The store's current location is central. It's right across from Bryant
Park, whose graciousness is something else on which natives and
tourists agree. Be you from Brooklyn, Baltimore, or Berlin, finding a great
Coliseum book and then taking some time to read it in the park spells out
a pretty great afternoon.   - Pamela Grossman; July 29, 2005

Coliseum Books
11 W. 42nd St., bet 5th & 6th Aves
New York, NY 10036
(212) 803-5890