The Secret Bookshop

| 7/13/2011 2:04:12 PM

Book shop 

Although there’s no password to get in, Brazenhead Books is the speakeasy of bookstores. The shop, hidden in an undisclosed apartment on New York’s Upper East Side, is stacked floor to ceiling with volumes by some of the book world’s best known—Arthur Miller and Anton Chekhov, Dorothy Parker and Jack London, Pierre Louys and Anthony Trollope (as well as a bottle or two of Woodford Reserve). But, because the shop is in a residence, it’s not legal and is, therefore, on the down low.

In the 1970s, proprietor Michael Seidenberg ran a law-abiding used bookstore, but when rent quadrupled, writes The Paris Review, the already-struggling shop closed. Seidenberg says, “When people say ‘Did Barnes and Noble put you out?’” he replies, “No, no—real estate put me out.” The substantial inventory moved to his nearby apartment and Brazenhead Books soon opened its doors—to anyone who could find it.

When asked how clandestine the bookstore really is, Seidenberg quips, “Here’s the funny thing . . . my name is known, and my name is in the phone book, and anyone can call me, but of course in this age of super intelligence, no one has a phone book. I always thought that was pretty shocking—that I was hiding in plain sight.”

Don’t miss this charming three-minute mini-documentary on Etsy, in which filmmaker Andrew David Watson takes us into the secret sphere of Brazenhead. If you’re a devotee of a good book and a good pipe, you may never want to leave:


Pay Now Save $5!

Utne Summer 2016Want to gain a fresh perspective? Read stories that matter? Feel optimistic about the future? It's all here! Utne Reader offers provocative writing from diverse perspectives, insightful analysis of art and media, down-to-earth news and in-depth coverage of eye-opening issues that affect your life.

Save Even More Money By Paying NOW!

Pay now with a credit card and take advantage of our earth-friendly automatic renewal savings plan. You save an additional $5 and get 4 issues of Utne Reader for only $40.00 (USA only).

Or Bill Me Later and pay just $45 for 4 issues of Utne Reader!

Facebook Instagram Twitter

click me