01 June 2008

The Bronx Loses a Bookstore

The Sunday New York Times ran a story reporting that Paperbacks Plus, a book store in Riverdale, was closing its doors after 38 years.

This is sad, of course, but not unusual. Independent book stores have been closing at a rapid clip in New York City for more than a decade. But there was this line in the piece, that Paperbacks Plus was "the only independent general interest bookstore in the Bronx."

Can this be true? In all the neighborhoods of the big old Bronx, this was the one and only indy book store that sold a little bit of everything? That seems very strange.

The shuttering is not involuntary. The owner, the amusingly named Fern Jaffe, decided to pack it in at the age of 75. Can't say as I blame her. But I do feel a bit sorry for the Bronx

12 comments:

BaHa said...

What in the world is amusing about the name Fern Jaffe? There were once plenty of Ferns in the boroughs; I certainly knew some. Or is it Jaffe you find funny? I don't know what you were aiming at here, but you whiffed it. (I think your not-from-here sensibility is showing.)

Brooks of Sheffield said...

Sorry, Baha, but Fern Jaffe is kinda a funny name. Just say it a few times. There may have been plenty of Ferns once upon a time, but I don't think Fern will ever stop being a funny name. It's a plant. I'm not trying to make fun of Ms. Jaffe. I just think her name is a bit odd, in a charming way. I like odd names. And Fern Jaffe is not Charles Smith or Karen Jones, you have to admit. And knock it off with that not-from-here crap. If you disagree with me, fine, but don't chalk it up to that tired "I know New York and you don't, because I'm from her and you're not" sophistry. I've been here 20 years. I'm from here.

BaHa said...

A thought just occurred to me. I've lived in Manhattan for 27 years, and it would never occur to me to say that I'm *from* Manhattan. I'm from Brooklyn. I guess we just look at these things differently.

Brooks of Sheffield said...

I didn't say I was "from Manhattan." I said I was "from here"--here meaning New York City. Semantics. I've lived in both boroughs, for the record. I don't want to fight over a non-existent issue, Baha. I like your comments. Oh, by the way, Baha's kinda a funny name, too. So is Brooks of Sheffield.

BaHa said...

BaHa's pretty funny, agreed. And my real name, which is rather boring, can be anagrammed to Banana Harbors, which I will use if I ever open a B&B in the Keys or something.
Glad you enjoy my comments (or that you mostly do).

Brooks of Sheffield said...

I do indeed enjoy your comments. Look forward to more.

Rubesy said...

I'm trying to picture where this store is -- I just can't see it in my head.

I am so very sad to hear this. I grew up in the Bronx and back then there was an indy bookstore on 204th Street, across from Woolworths. It was very sparsely stocked, in fact now I wonder what they may have been fronting for! But many of my childhood favorites were purchased here. I could save my lunch money and walk down on my own to the store to buy books.

Peter said...

the only independent general interest bookstore in the Bronx

It could be worse. In the entire country of Samoa, population 250,000, there is only one bookstore, and it mostly just sells Bibles.

CntrySigns said...

Sad but not surprising. My Grandmother runs a small craft shoppe in Queens and after 37 years is close to giving up. Micheal's & AC Moore as decided to move in about 10 blocks from her and almost around the corner from her.

Beverly Bowne said...

How sad! Riverdale Avenue's & the Bronx's loss. By the way, I do like the name Fern. Beverly, Bronx NY

Ms. Harris said...

I was also sad to hear of the closing of Paperbacks Plus.
I contacted Ms. Jaffe right before we opend our bookstore.
So, for the records, there is still one other small, independent, general interest bookstore in The Bronx, Books in the Hood!!

Rachel said...

SO sad.

Rubesy, it was on Riverdale Ave. and about 238th. And it was awesome.