Author Julie Klam Picks New York’s Best Bookstore and Best Reading Spot


This week is the Voice‘s Best of NYC issue, our annual opportunity to bestow arbitrary awards like Best Public-Access Show and Best Alt-Museum. In turn, we asked a few of our favorite New Yorkers to name their favorite local things.

Julie Klam is the author of Please Excuse My Daughter, a novel about growing up crazy spoiled in New York City, so she’s more than qualified to pick best secret shopping spot, and best store window displays.

Best bookstore?

I feel like the answer to this is any bookstore that is still open and stocking books, but my personal favorite, although it’s not even in my borough, is Book Court. There is a magical reading space with a skylight, in which REAL ACTUAL SKY is visible. They have phenomenal taste in books and the staff are elfen-like in their friendliness and helpfulness.

Best coffee shop?

I like the Viand Coffee shop on Broadway because it has the perfect coffee shop smell, which is scientifically designed to make you want to have grilled cheese and french fries. My favorite actual cup of coffee in New York is at Alice’s Tea Cup. [It’s] amazing that a place so famous for its tea has such darn good coffee.

Public place in the city most conducive to reading?

Without a doubt, the Majestic reading Room (Room 315) at the New York Public Library main branch. So lovely it makes you proud to be a public reader, not to mention just being in that room makes you instantly smarter.

Best thing you’ve seen on the subway?

The best thing was the conducter on the 1 train at 157th Street who re-opened closed subway doors for a woman who’d obviously had a bad day.

Worst thing you’ve seen on the subway?

The worst thing is that sad ambulance chaser ad with former Channel 5 anchor, and COMPENSATED SPOKESMAN, John Roland. And oy, his eye job.

Best secret shopping spot in New York?

I hope I don’t regret sharing this, but the Spanish superstores in lower Washington Heights, El Mundo and Plaza de las Americas on 160th and Broadway. Bargains on toilet paper, lottery candles, and shampoo lurk among racks of clothes by Michael Kors and Dolce and Gabana, all with a kickin’ latin soundtrack.

Best store window displays?

Year-round I love those wonderful window displays at Housing Works Thrift Shop. I simply can’t pass them by.