McNally Johnson Bookstore, A Place of Refuge (or not!)

In the borough of Nolita where money and appearance reign supreme, I was happy to find refuge in a quaint little book store called McNAlly Jackson (or at least what I thought was refuge). At first glance the store seems like any other books store, but this one is special. Like everything else in Nolita, it’s for the young, hip professional type. The titles of the books as trendy and eye catching as the clothing the Nolitans wear, especially the books in the front of the store. The titles of the books include Ugly Man Stories by Dennis Cooper, God Says No by James Hannaham, and Pride Prejudice and Zombies by Jane Austen. The titles kind of made me say, “What? Really? Whoa.” but they catch your eye and make you want to stop and read them. I bought two books from the store and I’m not even that big of a reader! Or a spender!
Like everything in Nolita, the books were not cheap, but the presentation was so enticing I could not help myself. The books with the craziest titles were in the front. The books with the more tame titles were in the back, but even those were the classics. Those in the back that I had never heard of had cool descriptions printed out and posted by the books so that people might be tempted to by those. To be consistent with Nolita’s hip and trendy scene, The McNally Jackson bookstore capitalized on the Starbucks idea and put a coffee shop right in the bookstore.
As much as I was aware of the store’s capitalistic schemes I could not leave the store. Perhaps it was because I was reading a book and could not put it down. However, that explanation doesn’t make perfect sense because the chairs were not by any means comfortable. They had no backs to them. Perhaps business decision was made to discourage customers from reading an entire book in the store. Perhaps it was due to the fact that the bookstore was the only place in Nolita where I could stay and not worry about how I was dressed. The store had customers but they were in out. They came in with what they wanted in mind, bought it and left. I was the only one to stick around for a long time. Plus there were no mirrors or highly reflective windows in the shop so I didn’t have to look at the way I was dressed. Plus they actually had items in the store which I could afford.


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