back in my early days in the city, when i hardly knew anyone, lived in a temporary apartment, had whole weekday afternoons on my hands, and lacked a clear sense of the map, i would walk for hours and just see. i wanted to see everything.
one day i wandered upon a tiny, old bookshop wedged between much larger, much newer stores where old books sat with dusty records and new books on shelves that spanned from floor to high, high ceiling. a staircase ran down the middle and ladders, the kind that you are invited to climb, hugged the bookcases, like in beauty and the beast. it was a dream...a place to while away whole rainy days.
it was only later that day, long after i had wandered away, that i realized i had forgotten to check the cross streets. and the name.
all winter, when it was too cold to sit in the park, i thought about that store and wondered how i would find it again. i started to wonder if it really existed at all, if it hadn't just appeared because i had needed a place like that at the time. you harry potter lovers will understand: i imagined it away as a sort of room of requirement for my back-then self, before i had company and a place of my own in this big city. after all, i have never felt lonely in a bookstore.
then, this week, i walked right past it again....in my neighborhood. it was right under my nose these last ten months and just as i had left it.
and just so we're clear: it's at 81st and broadway.