If you haven’t visited the Barns and Noble in Union Square, what are you waiting for? It’s the largest Barns and Noble NYC and the largest BN in America. Today we live in a kind of You’ve Got Mail in reverse where the new Joe Fox in town is Amazon. We have a soft spot for our chain book retailers because we know that they are increasingly becoming relics of a bygone bibliophile era.
The Barns and Noble Union Square store continues to get rave Yelp and Google reviews. Yes, they have a clean and accessible bathroom. We know, a rarity in a big city, but they also have many other great attributes, like four floors of books on many, many, many different topics!!
Their Twitter page also informs that they have sections for textbooks, magazines, music, movies, and a Nook Boutique. There is also a large children’s and toys section if you are about that life. There is no shortage of adults reading Harry Potter (likely for the fourth time) on the subway. You know who you are.
Many of us book lovers have e-readers. However, there is no comparison for walking through a bookstore. It’s nice to be able to pick-up any book and thumb through it. If you are like me, then your phone is full of pictures of book covers as a reminder of something that caught your eye to read later. It’s hard to book shop on a screen, not to mention you miss that book smell.
Below are five reasons to hop on the subway over to the Barns and Noble Union Square location ASAP.
1. It’s the Biggest Barns and Noble Store in Manhattan
The biggest Barns and Noble NYC used to be located on 5th Avenue, but it closed in 2014. The Union Square store is 62,000 square feet. There are escalators to navigate their four floors. The building of the store is very much old New York and is located right in the epicenter of the square’s activity. In 1997, the building was added to the National Register of Historic Places. Interestingly, Barns and Noble is a part of New York history and started in the Cooper Union Building in NYC in 1886.
This store is a book lover’s dream. The store has the space to house many books on-site, so you can likely find almost any title you are looking for. However, this is a bookstore where you have the space to mosey through the aisles, unlike their more popular neighbor, The Strand.
2. They Have Many Events
If you are in the city, you should check out their calendar of events. Hilary Clinton launched her book tour at this location. As did fellow First Lady, Michelle Obama with her book Becoming. They host many authors’ talks and FREE book signings. If you are lucky you can catch your favorite artist launching their memoirs, like Tegan and Sara. Seriously, capitalize on any cool and free activity to experience in this city.
3. Their Coffee Shop is a Starbucks
I don’t know about you, but I prioritize my bookstore experience by the coffee and seating area. There is a massive Starbucks located on their second floor. It would be fun to grab a PSL and saunter over to their generous magazine section, which is noticeably bountiful compared to most bookstores. Secondly, the café creates a great working environment, which is hard to come by in the city. Be sure to nab a table and enjoy the Wifi.
4. Location, Location, Location
Union Square is a popular watering hole for both tourists and natives. The square garners a lot of traffic too for the market, which hosts farmers and artisanal vendors. Consider after perusing the shelves, taking your book to the park with your latte, while enjoying the greenery.
What is more New York than reading in a park? If you need some reading recommendations, check out our article on books that encapsulate upon the New York experience. Sylvia Plath’s The Bell Jar is a classic and is best read with a cocktail.
5. The Barns and Noble Store Chain is Fading
It’s a strange rock, paper, scissors cycle. Chain bookstores like Barns and Noble were “scissor” to the independent bookstores “paper.” And now Amazon is “rock” to all. The company now reports that there are roughly 167 stores in operation in the US. The chain has been on the decline for the last decade.
It would behoove people to shop at their local bookstores, while they are still in circulation. Unfortunately, it does not look like they are going to be around forever. The Barns and Noble Union Square could someday be a distant memory.