In December, Brooklyn bibliophiles suffered a gut punch when news broke that Cobble Hill’s BookCourt would be closing its doors after 35 years in business. There were murmurs that a new bookstore would soon debut under author Emma Straub, but New York real estate doctrine dictates that we shan’t believe any rumors until the lights are on and parents are struggling to shove strollers through the front door.
Straub appears to making good on her word, and her new shop, unfortunately titled “Books Are Magic,” is set to open on or around May 1, Patch reports.
Located at 225 Smith Street between Butler and Douglass, the new shop will be just a short jaunt from BookCourt’s old location.
“The store has lovely windows and lots of exposed brick, and about thirty of BookCourt’s bookshelves, each of them imbued with lots of good luck and bookselling love,” Straub and her husband, Michael Fusco, wrote in a news letter.
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The pair are also in the process of “hiring staff, booking events, and ordering books,” so you know it’s serious. They also note that “we’re making friends with our neighbors (expect fun collaborations in the near future),” with links to Stinky Brooklyn, a cheese shop, and Warby Parker.
Straub announced plans for her new shop in conjunction with the sad news that BookCourt was closing, following notice from owners Henry Zook and Mary Gannett that they were retiring in December.
“In addition to being my former employer, and the site of all five of my book launch parties, BookCourt is a part of our daily family life,” Straub wrote at the time. “A neighborhood without an independent bookstore is a body without a heart. And so we’re building a new heart.”
So what’s up with that name? Straub explained to the Brooklyn Eagle in February that she and her husband had initially wanted to open a children’s bookstore, but decided to expand its scope to include all ages.
“We knew that this neighborhood didn’t just need a children’s store; it needs an everybody store,” she said. “We decided that magic was equal opportunity. Everyone needs magic, and so we thought books are magic for young, old and everyone in between.”
One word of warning to the quiet book browser: The store will come furnished with an “enormous and wonderful” kid’s section that will offer all 15 million of neighborhood’s children “a place to hang out.” Rough translation: “Bring earplugs, flask.”
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on March 22, 2017