Each year, Village Preservation honors the invaluable people, businesses, and organizations that make a special contribution to our neighborhoods at our Annual Meeting and Village Awards. This year, on June 14, 2022, at 6 PM we will be celebrating seven outstanding awardees — RSVP HERE to attend in person and HERE to participate virtually via livestream.
On East 4th Street, behind a bright blue facade, lies a store in which it would be easy to get lost for hours, searching for that special print or vintage map among the thousands on hand. The store is Pageant Print Shop, and it’s one of this year’s Village Award winners.
Pageant has called 69 East 4th Street home since 2005, but it’s been part of the Village community for more than three-quarters of a century. World War II veterans Sidney Solomon and Henry Chafetz opened the Pageant Book Company in 1946 along Book Row, a long-lost community of bookstores on Fourth Avenue from St. Mark’s Place to 14th Street. In addition to books, the pair removed illustrations taken from damaged volumes and put them up for sale piled in a box. Eventually, Solomon’s daughters, Shirley and Rebecca, would organize those piles into something more prominent within the store, which in 1979 had moved to a new location on East 9th Street.
The Solomon sisters inherited the store, keeping it a family business but moving it fully online at the turn of the millennium. Some years later, they decided to once again operate a brick-and-mortar store, and by 2005 moved into their current space that’s part of the Fourth Arts Block. “It’s a great location,” Shirley Solomon said. “I love the neighborhood stores and all the theaters and dance companies here.”
The small space of this new store necessitated focusing on illustrations and maps rather than on rare books as past incarnations had done. Entering the store, visitors can enjoy exploring an eclectic array of printed materials, some of which are proudly displayed on the wall but the vast majority neatly arranged in bins. Categories range from New York history — Shirley’s favorite specialty — and New Yorker covers, to birds and botanicals, and old typefaces and advertisements. This neighborhood treasure continues to thrive, even after being closed for months at the start of the pandemic, and to serve its clientele and the community.
“I’m thrilled to win this award,” Shirley said about being chosen as a 2022 Village Awardee, “and to be in good company” with the other winners. You, too, can take part in the award ceremony on Tuesday, June 14. RSVP HERE to attend in person and HERE to participate virtually via livestream. Learn more about our annual meeting and awards, including past awardees and videos of past ceremonies, here.