Update, July 20: The store announced its reopening yesterday via a Facebook message, followed up by an e-mail blast today: “After nearly a month of delay while our contractor finished building out the new location and we moved everything into place, we have finally opened our doors again at our new store at 3rd and A. Our hours have changed and we will now be open daily from noon until 10pm. We look forward to seeing you!”
Last we checked in with the new location of the St. Mark’s Bookshop, it was due to open this weekend. A couple of couple days later, it moved the date to Monday and then wrote on Facebook, “No more predictions. We reopen when we reopen, and we’ll announce an opening party.” Either way, things are looking good, as the front windows now have signage and books on display. And the new shop’s sleek curving bookshelves appear to be almost fully stocked.
Peep the photo below to see what’s in the window, including some tomes by St. Mark’s supporter Neil Gaiman. You’ll also see a copy of The Last Magazine, written by Michael Hastings before his tragic demise.
If you haven’t read the roman a clef about the reporter’s time at Gawker (which published a guide to its cast of characters) and Newsweek (which reviewed the book today), you should. Aside from its acerbic take on the media industry, Hastings’s novel is set in the early-aughts Lower East Side, where he lived, so it contains the requisite doing-blow-in-the-bathroom-of-Dark-Room scene. Here’s an excerpt.
The Dark Room is on Ludlow Street, above Rivington. This doesn’t mean much to most people–but as Greenwich Village was to the ’50s beatniks and ’60s hippies, the Lower East Side was to the strange and much less influential crowd of the early ’00s, at least in their minds. They are important, or believe in their own importance, even if only expressed with the required self-mockery. They aren’t artists, and not really a community of writers, either: they are bloggers, and their focus is each other.
On the Lower East Side, where they live, gentrification on these blocks was more or less complete–the last remaining Jews had been pushed out a decade before, the Hispanics were still found but mostly outside the primary five-block radius, hanging around in small groups and whistling outside of the subway entrance to the F train on Second Avenue. Orchard Street is filled with luggage stores and leather stores and glasses shops, run by Pakistanis, storefronts selling junk and trinkets and passport photos, a slow death before developers can come in and create a trendy boutique.
So, yeah, grab The Last Magazine when the Bookshop reopens this weekend. And (speaking of gentrification!) check out the store’s gutted former location.