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Pop-Up Bookstore Negotiating Longer Stay in WaHi

By DNAinfo Staff on November 27, 2011 9:16pm  | Updated on November 28, 2011 10:46am

By Paul Lomax

Special to DNAinfo

WASHINGTON HEIGHTS — Maybe this won't be the final chapter.

Popular pop-up bookstore Word Up is negotiating with its landlord to stick around through December and possibly into next year, one of the shop's creators told DNAinfo.

"We're talking to the property company now so we can extend our stay through December and hopefully into the New Year," said Veronica Liu, 33, one of 20 core volunteers who runs the store at 4157 Broadway, near 176th Street.

The shop, which was packed Saturday with poets, writers, artists and DJ's celebrating another month in existence, was founded on June 17 when developer Vantage Properties allowed a group of artists to occupy the empty space.

Since then the bookstore, in conjunction with Northern Manhattan Arts Alliance, has grown in popularity so much so that the property management company has been agreeing to extend the lease on a month-to-month basis.

"This bookstore has been a vibrant hub for local arts and for generating new community dialogue in languages such as English, Spanish, and even Russian," said Liu.

"We survive on donations from the public and from income generated from book sales. We need more volunteers who can make a difference. We need to make this happen. We need long-term funding so Word Up can make a difference in Washington Heights."

More than 100 people gathered on Saturday afternoon and early evening to enjoy poetry readings from local artists such as Rammer Martínez Sánchez and Rich Diaz.

"Word Up has become an amazing place where all different segments of Washington Heights can come together, share and help to create a better cohesive artistic community for everyone to enjoy," said Led Black, the editor-in-chief of the Washington Heights blog, The Uptown Collective.

Photographer and filmmaker Emmanuel Abreu, 28, said that he has "supported Word Up since the start." "Today has been a great day, I really didn't expect this many people to show up," he added.

But for Martínez Sánchez, 37, Word Up is "more than a bookstore."

"It's where the great artistic minds of our neighborhood come to meet to create, share ideas and encourage each other," he said.

"There is so much love that comes outta here that I will cherish it forever."