The Community Bookstore, a Cobble Hill Institution, Is Closing Soon

Not the Community Bookstore, but in its spirit: A crazy stack of books on my crazy desk.
Not the Community Bookstore, but in its spirit: A crazy stack of books on my crazy desk.

In news that is really sad—but also makes perfect sense when we live in a borough where tiny bungalows are put on the market for well over a million dollars—Cobble Hill institution, The Community Bookstore, has announced that it will be closing this year. 

The New York Times reported today that owner John Scioli is selling his legendary neighborhood spot—and the building which houses it, and Scioli himself—for $5.5 million to three brothers from Manhattan who own properties “including 2 Herald Square, home to a large Victoria’s Secret at the corner of West 34th Street; a building with a Patagonia outlet in the Meatpacking District and another building on Madison Avenue with a Roberto Cavalli boutique.” There are no reported plans yet for the Community Bookstore building, but, as the Times notes, this stretch of Court Street has undergone a major transformation in recent years, including the additions of retail stores like Splendid and Rag & Bone. The store will be vacated within the next ten months, and Scioli has up to two years to leave his residence.

The Times notes that this is not a case of a beloved business closing because of raising rents—Scioli was his own landlord, after all—but it would be disingenuous to pretend that this is not a sign of the times anyway. While the neighborhood has long managed to support more than one independent bookstore (BookCourt is but a few blocks away), all while being quite close to a massive Barnes & Noble, it’s also true that Scioli’s specific brand of independent bookstore—no computer system, stacks upon stacks of books organized (or “organized”) according to a system only sensible to Scioli—seemed more and more anachronistic in a part of Brooklyn where “counterculture” is just another brand of expensive coffee and the avant-garde send their kids to private schools that run $50 grand a year. So long, Community Bookstore—we can pretty much guarantee that nothing like you will be occupying this particular corner of Cobble Hill anytime soon.

Follow Kristin Iversen on twitter @kmiversen


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