Gotham Book Mart

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Gotham Book Mart

Section: Midtown

Neighborhood: The Diamond District

Address: 41 West 47th Street

From the first moment that passersby and customers alike view the sign hanging out front “Wise Men Fish Here”, it’s readily apparent that this oddity among diamond brokers and jewelers of the Diamond District is not your average bookstore. Gotham Book Mart has been in operation since 1920 and from the very beginning it has been the force of the avant-garde. Not merely a book dealer, it hosts symposiums, literary salons, art exhibits, lectures, poetry and book readings, etc. It has become the favored haven of a number of literary societies whose members can be found sipping coffee or tea in a cozy little nook turned into a café. The space itself is long and deep with a narrow staircase reaching up 4 stories and a crammed basement level full of dusty used and out-of-print treasures. The first and second floors are crammed with books specializing in poetry, literature, theater, art, music and dance. The third floor is used for art exhibitions, lectures, salons and other events. Also, there is a rare book collection on the fourth floor that is quite well-known. In fact, the level of literary knowledge of the staff is something to be reckoned with and not found in the modern book super-stores. So Gotham Book Mart is looked to as an actual authority so much so that even the Nobel Prize committee in Stockholm is known to order copies of books from the Gotham when they are considering various authors for the prize. Celebrities, artists and filmmakers frequent the store because of its atmosphere and the expertise of the staff. The director Woody Allen, a frequent customer of film books at the shop, once referred to Gotham Book Mart as "everyone's fantasy of what the ideal bookshop is.”

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