The pandemic has done neighborhood businesses no favors, both keeping customers from the streets and intensifying the shift toward online shopping. This crisis has exacerbated longstanding concerns about the loss of beloved bookshops, cafés, clothing stores, bakeries, and other mom-and-pops that contribute to their communities far more than the merchandise and services they sell. And yet, amidst all the talk of a retail apocalypse, hopeful stories persist — local cornerstones that endure; unique new businesses that open their doors, inspired by fresh ideas. Today, we will hear from three bookstores, some decades old, some months old, that have greatly enriched our neighborhoods and managed to thrive in the age of Amazon or are making a bet that they will: Unoppressive Non-Imperialist Bargain Books, Book Club Bar, and Printed Matter.

Jim Drougas has been curating the shelves at the Unoppressive Non-Imperialist Bargain Bookstore (34 Carmine Street, Greenwich Village) with affordable and well-considered reads for over 40 years. His store’s name may be a mouthful, but the appellation is both playful and to the point: this shop is dedicated to helping customers build up their libraries without breaking the bank. The store has impressive collections of poetry, travel, film, art, politics, health, Eastern philosophy and children’s books, and more. Unoppressive also houses a section with 35 books by or about Bob Dylan.

Emmett Pinsky is the Bookstore Manager at Printed Matter / St Marks (38 St. Marks Place, East Village). At PMSM, Emmett focuses on highlighting books, producing programming, and participating in artist collaborations that highlight the histories of countercultural art and publication in Downtown New York. He has been at Printed Matter since 2018, joining the organization from a background in printmaking and book binding. Some of his favorite projects at PMSM have been a window installation of photography by Clayton Patterson, an internationally-received open call for mail art in April of 2020, and the first ever East Village Zine Fair, co-organized with fellow nonprofit 8-Ball Community.

Erin Neary is the co-owner of Book Club Bar (197 East 3rd Street, East Village), an independent bookstore & wine bar in the East Village of Manhattan, which opened in 2019. At Book Club Bar, she is the frontlist book buyer, events and marketing coordinator, and operations manager. Prior to her bookstore venture, she worked in marketing and event planning for several tech companies in New York City, as well as development for nonprofit organizations. When she’s not reading, she enjoys running and traveling.

Tuesday, April 26, 2022
6:00 pm
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