During my recent trip to New York, I stopped at the Strand Bookstore on 12th Street and Broadway. They advertise “18 miles of books” and while I don’t quite know what exactly that means, I can tell you they are not kidding.
I reported before that I am a bookstore mooch, and I like to browse in bookstores when I travel. Nowadays, in most cities, that’s a Borders or Barnes and Noble. Usually I go to the art and photography section. Borders generally has one or two tall shelves of photography books and another two shelves of art books. They are generally tucked into a corner in the back, near the bathrooms. A visit to that section lasts anywhere from 10 minutes to a half an hour, before I lose interest.
The Strand Bookstore has an entire floor for art and photography. For every single art and photography book in a Borders store, there must be 300 books at Strand. The offering is overwhelming. I could move to SoHo, live there for 3 months and go browsing at Strand every day for 3 hours and I would not run out of books to browse.