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Welcoming a new iteration of the Rizzoli Bookstore to the neighborhood.
The old Rizzoli bookstore was tall-ceilinged and sweeping, with rich details that gave it a cozy feel.
For 50 years, the Rizzoli bookstore in Manhattan stood as a beacon in the world of independent bookstores. Its 57th Street location, where it was located for nearly 30 years, was as grand as a palace but so wam with character that you wanted to plop right down and start reading. The interior of the space was defined by intricate vaulted ceilings, an enormous arched window, cherry wood shelves everywhere, and a general sense of old-timey where's-my-scotch opulence.
The new Rizzoli store, while not 100% complete, is finally open to the public as of yesterday.
Last year, despite protest from the community, the Rizzoli bookstore was shut down and 109-year old building was razed to make room for a luxury condo tower. Plans for a new location were soon underway, however, and the new Rizzoli bookstore just opened yesterday on the corner of 26th street and Broadway—which is right around the corner from our offices.
While the new store is in many ways nothing like its predecessor, there are certain design elements that do carry the store's legacy into a new age. Here's what we love about the new Rizzoli bookstore:
1. The window dispay is just as opulent and delightful as we hoped.
Designed by André Leon Talley, the display of blue and red manequins wrapped in designer scarves next to stacks of books was intended to convey "a love of book hoarding."
2. They kept the cherry wood cabinets and the brass chandeliers.
Though the old store was gutted to the bones, it was nice to see the iconic wood bookshelves and iron chandeliers survived—and made it to their new home.
3. They embraced the design of the new space, rather than forcing the old look.
The lofty, illuminated space is nothing like the old store, but the designers did embrace the new, airy design instead of forcing a musty, cluttered look that would have been at odds with the architecture.
4. They stock great inventory.
Okay, so I did a little rearranging.
5. There's more to come.
As you might see in some of the pictures above, there are still unfinished places that don't match the renderings. But heck, our own office didn't feel finished until weeks after we moved in, and we're excited to see the next phases unveiled.
6. It's got curb appeal (and it's closer to us).
Housed in the St. James building on Broadway, the new Rizzoli store followed the trend of so many media, print, and art businesses and quit midtown for a location in the 20s. No complaints here!
First photo by Curbed; all other photos by author