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Secret Upper East Side Bookstore Being Evicted, Owner Says

By Lindsay Armstrong | July 3, 2014 2:19pm | Updated on July 7, 2014 8:25am
Brazenhead, the Secret Upper East Side Bookstore, May Close in October
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UPPER EAST SIDE — A secret bookstore that has operated out of an Upper East Side apartment since 2008 may be facing its final chapter.

The owner of Brazenhead Books, which was profiled in a short 2011 documentary, received an eviction notice Thursday saying that he had to vacate the space in a matter of months.

"Brazenhead Books turns its last page on October 31st," owner Michael Seidenberg wrote on his Facebook page. “Lost our lease…lots of things must go.”

Seidenberg launched the book shop after rising rents forced him to close the first Brazenhead Books in Brooklyn in the late 1990s.

He had tried selling his second-hand books at fairs and on the street, but he missed having a dedicated space. So Seidenberg set up shop in an Upper East Side apartment in 2008 and took customers by appointment only.

"It's not open to the public as such. It's not legal so that's why it has to be hidden," he explained to filmmaker Andrew David Watson in the 2011 documentary.

Seidenberg also hosts Saturday salons for people who may not be comfortable with one-on-one appointments. People who have called for the store’s address can drop in any time on Saturdays.

Dozens of Brazenhead fans commented on Seidenberg’s post about the eviction Thursday. Some expressed their sympathy, while others recommended lawyers or encouraged Seidenberg to find a way to keep his shop going.

“Brazenhead has been through so many changes. Every time it seems like the end of times, you keep going and stay open and something even better comes along,” one commenter wrote.

Brazenhead received a lot of attention after the video was released as part of Etsy’s documentary series. Seidenberg acknowledged at the time that it could have ramifications from authorities.

“I’ll just deal with it when I have to deal with it,” he told DNAinfo at the time.

It was not clear why the store was being evicted.

Seidenberg did not immediately return a request for comment. 

Those who are interested in trying to help Brazenhead Books can sign up here for updates on the situation.