BUSHWICK — Visual artists and aesthetes may have congregated for years in the neighborhood's galleries and studios, but the literary crowd had no solid meeting place until Bushwick's inaugural bookstore opened last July. One year later, four book shops and one independent library have emerged in the area — and the eager businesses have created a literary mecca with events almost nightly, from readings to DJ parties in the stacks.
"Clearly there was some sort of need...There are a lot of writers in the neighborhood," said Matthew Winn, the first shop Molasses Books' owner, of the new events that have drawn robust attendance. "For some reason the art galleries come in first and the literary salons come after."
Whether you're drawn to beer, paganism, local poets or academic lectures, the creative scene guarantees a way to stimulate your linguistic side.
This pioneer has become more than a bookstore — its beer and wine liquor license has fostered a "literary salon" feel (and has made it a popular "daytime drinking" spot), Winn said. Each Tuesday evening a DJ holds an early evening party in the space, and Molasses also holds about one or two other readings or talks each week.
"The whole place has transformed. It's gotten better every month," said Winn, 28, noting that his book selection had also improved with more visitors to the shop. A list of upcoming events can be found on Molasses' Facebook page.
Mellow Pages has also been a literary hub since its inception earlier this year, since the space literally lends out books and welcomes visitors for free to peruse the stacks all day long.
"You can hang out all day, it's all free," said founder Diego Perkins. "To check out books you have to become a member but that is free as well if you bring in 10 books and allow them to be part of the collection."
Each week Mellow Pages hosts about three organized events, ranging from readings, to literary workshops, to live music, Perkins said, noting that often the readings are book release parties for local writers.
"We have grown really rapidly since we opened," Perkins said. "We have about 3,000 books now and we started at 700."
Events can be found on the library's Facebook page.
This occult and metaphysical-themed book shop hosts talks on paganism and mysticism, along with poetry readings and performance art. The store (which also sells candles and other materials for seances) hosts a lecture series called "Feast of Fools," whose next talk will "uncover the hidden traditions of magic and religion encoded in fairy tales," the event page notes.
The founder of this mini-bookstore (tucked inside Schema Projects art gallery) has called her shop a "book-centric exhibition model" since she displays groups of books that relate to a chosen theme. She has held an art book and zine fair in the past, and future events can be found on her Facebook page.
Human Relations, which opened right after Molasses last summer, is, like Molasses, a used bookstore but it has less of a "literary salon" focus. The shop does hold occassional events, however, including radical political gatherings like the welcoming of a new leftist center to Bushwick last weekend.