The Most Literary Neighborhood
Where To Find The Densest Concentration Of Bookstores And Publishers
Ask someone to picture “Literary Brooklyn,” and they might imagine the young writers starting out in Bushwick, or the published authors settled in Park Slope and Carroll Gardens. But if you’re talking about infrastructure, few neighborhoods could consider themselves as bookish as—are you sitting down?—DUMBO.
The formerly industrial microcommunity beneath the bridges, known more for its staggering residential rents and Belgian-block streets, has one of the highest concentration of bookstores and publishers per square block anywhere outside of Midtown Manhattan, from the hybrid office-bookstores of powerHouse and Melville House to one of the borough’s few great used-bookstores, P.S. The publisher Verso shares its space on Jay Street with the London Review of Books, while n+1 works out of a suite down the block. (For that matter, our company is nearby on Main Street.)
DUMBO has also become home to several specialty book shops: Singularity & Co., with its outstanding collection of rare sci-fi; Zakka, with its impressive offerings of Japanese books; and Berl’s Poetry Shop, with its unparalleled selection of chapbooks and small-press titles. “DUMBO is a great place for a poetry bookstore,” the latter’s owners told us in October, “given that Walt Whitman used to work at the Brooklyn Eagle in this neighborhood. If you’re headed to Brooklyn Bridge Park, you can walk past his former office on Old Fulton Street.” Not to mention that, at one point, the godfather of Brooklyn lit lived on Front Street—generations before anyone even knew what a DUMBO was.