The book and coffee mecca that is Barnes & Noble will soon return to the Upper East Side.
The chain store, which closed its location on East 86th Street near Lexington Avenue in 2020, will be back in 2023 at 1556 3rd Avenue, at the intersection with East 87th Street.
It’s taking over a former Duane Reade, which is across the street from the Upper East Side Whole Foods, and will open in the spring.
“It is very good news to bring our bookstore back to the Upper East Side,” CEO James Daunt said in a statement. “It was very sad to close in the depths of the pandemic and especially pleasing now to reopen with one that is so dramatically more attractive. We take over a beautiful building with an old-style character with which it is a pleasure to work in creating the new bookstore. Bookselling is enjoying a wonderful renaissance, nowhere more so than in NYC. Bookstores are bursting with energy, with events back in full swing and now a wave of new bookstore openings is underway.”
He’s right—bookstores are coming back. More than 300 new independent bookstores have opened in the U.S. in just the past few years and about 200 more are expected to open in the next couple of years, according to the New York Times. In NYC, several have opened in just the last year or so, including a secret bookstore behind a bodega in Greenpoint, a shop in Park Slope spanning the genres, a vintage bookshop with specialty teas in Bed-Stuy, a sustainability-focused bookshop in Greenpoint called Leaves, a second Books Are Magic store coming to Brooklyn Heights and a new McNally Jackson location opening in Rockefeller Center.
The opening is a sign that the company is on the rebound. According to the VP of B&N, Amy Fitzgerald, the company is opening new stores at an “unprecedented rate.” Between 2009 and 2019, it had only opened one or two stores each year. But this year, it’s opened 16 new stores and has announced development plans for over 30 further bookstores to open in 2023, including the new bookstore on Atlantic Avenue in Brooklyn (opening in January).
“Our booksellers in NYC are to be very busy,” Fitzgerald said. “Not only do we have the excitement of reopening on the Upper East Side, we are also to open in Brooklyn and begin the refurbishment of our existing bookstores with the complete overhaul of our Upper West Side bookstore. The years of backpedaling are well and truly over for bookselling in NYC. In the meantime, this is a very strong fall for publishing, and we look forward to welcoming existing and ever more new customers into our bookstores this Holiday.”
Of course, if you want to support local businesses, there are plenty of independent New York shops and many of them will send books straight to your door.
Finally, there’s no shortage of bookstores in NYC, and that’s right where we wanna be!
Ex-Brit turned Manhattan resident since 2008.