LEFT BANK BOOKS
In 2002, I moved from my own apartment in Hell’s Kitchen to my then-boyfriend, now-husband's bachelor pad on Perry Street in the West Village. A gorgeous studio in a brownstone facing an inner courtyard with a church and garden. I had just started an indie record label and we happily ate lobster on the floor. As die-hard young New Yorkers we didn’t have space for a dining table and opted for cooler furniture instead.
The West Village at the time was still ever so charming; only ONE Marc Jacobs boutique, so this was pre-Marc Jacobs Books, Mens, Kids, Marc by Marc, and pre-the-sad-demise-of-all. It was pre-tourist bus loads sitting for photos ops on Sarah Jessica Parker’s tv stoop in Sex and The City up the street, and for Markus and I, pre-marriage, pre-careers and pre-the-rest-of-our-lives.
The neighborhood of the West Village played a huge role in the budding innocences of our romance, even the crumbling bodega on West 4th still carries warm memories for us today. But one of our favorite spots to visit was Left Bank Books, on West 4th and xxxx. Markus, a writer and fierce collector of first editions, could never walk past it without going in - which meant we were there OFTEN.
Over the years, watching the struggle of all the independent shops in the village was depressing. Left Bank being one that had to move from West 4th to Hudson Ave in 2005, and then to another spot on Hudson a few years later on. Still, there wasn’t a more charming book shop in the whole village - so as usual, every time we walked past it, we had to go in - even though we had already long grown up and moved to Chelsea. Eventually, as with many other businesses in the neighborhood, fraught with raising rents and the internet, in 2016 Left Bank closed its doors.
Enter Erik DuRon and Jess Kuronen to save the day! Both previously having worked at the old Left Bank, they decided to buy the store and re-launch it as an online bookshop, eventually taking a brick and mortar space - guess where - right downstairs and next door to our old brownstone apartment on Perry Street.
On my first visit to the new Left Bank Books, I found a TownGas publication, from my childhood growing on in Hong Kong, by a utilities company the equivalent of ConEdison here, on Chinese cuisine; a book from the 1970s that I have since been unable to put down on divination and prophecy techniques; and within less than a week, owner Erik DuRon tracked down a copy of this rare Nova magazine coffee table book I have been looking for, for no joke, over 10 years.
So it’s safe to say that with the re-launch of Left Bank Books, I am a happy camper. The new store doesn’t just bring back the memories of the old Left Bank and some of the happiest times in my life, but it is also better curated, better sourced, better presented and better priced.
EAST BANK BOOKS