Friday, February 27, 2009

Annals of Booking 2-Outrageous Tales

Reminiscing about the many closed bookshops(that's not like a maison close)-I recall this story about Endicott Books, the grande dame of West Side carriage trade shops on Columbus between 80 th and 81st. This store had beautiful carpeting, 4 0r 5 steps up to sections in well-lit corners with what seemed to be - mahogany wood tables and bookcases. And, more notably a rather good selection of trade fiction and non-fiction, including well-chosen volumes of high quality, and an excellent collection of literary mags(more about that later and the loss of the great corner mag shop on Sixth ave and 11th street)
Anyway, when we first moved our main residence to Connecticut, and the kids were pre-teen, we would always come in the City once on the weekend and I would make quick runs to Endicott, Books & Co and St Marks while the troupe sat double-parked in the car, unless we could get a space and they piled in as well.
I was a pretty big customer of Endicott-and had been allowed bathroom privileges , in the small interior room on the left side of the main floor. Standing in line with 5 books which I had just purchased I told the clerk that I needed to use the bathroom - He replied in a skittish voice that it wasn't allowed.When I explained to him that the manager, his ostensible superior had allowed me to use the facilities on several occasions and reminded him,of the obscene(accordingto my spouse) volume of purchases I made in the last few years, he acknowledged all that.But then stated that the manager should not have allowed me- Was there some kind of store power play going on here - did I miss the rim the last time- hardly likely- I looked him down, knowing that the double-parked trio of my nuclear family would be furious if I spent much more time here--

I contemplated the alternatives and offered up this with a determined look on my face that did not exclude the obvious intestinal distress I was suffering
Can you tell me the corner of the store that is least frequented by customers??

He looked back in sheer disgust, reached for the key and rudely thrust it in my palm-----Well, just this time he mumbled with a pained expression that looked like he had just lost out on an inheritance at a reading of the will of a distant relative...

I went about my business but counted a great moral victory- such are the little triumphs of life...


  1. This I enjoyed. I wonder how Foyles would react or even more inobtrusive sellers on the Charing Cross Road?

  2. I shudder to think about it-probably more gracefully though