St. Mark's Bookshop
St. Mark’s Bookshop was packed last night at around 6:30 p.m. with people awaiting their hero—or, a guy they hoped would become their hero in a very specific local matter—Michael Moore.
Moore has a book to promote (he told the crowd at the bookstore last night that he had no interest in doing signings at big chain stores), and St. Mark's Bookshop is itself in trouble, and has asked its landlord, Cooper Union, the private engineering, architecture and art college, to reduce its $20,000 monthly rent (with backup from a local petition and a community board resolution).(1)
"It's not just a couple of guys who own a bookstore and want to keep their job," co-owner and co-founder Terry McCoy told the Daily News. "It's an important book store in keeping the identity of the East Village what it is."
We find that to be important justification for our periodic portraits of neighborhoods based on the bestsellers at their local (and, usually, independent) bookstores. So what, in these troubled times, is selling at the shop?
The last time we swung by the East Village to see what the locals were reading, it was the beginning of August, and the New York University summer-schoolers were going with crowd-pleasers: The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo and The Girl Who Played With Fire and Eat, Pray, Love. With one Georges Perec title thrown in for good measure.
Well, school is now back in session, and the kiddies are clearly catching the literary award-season fever for improving literature.(3)