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Kew Gardens to Get Its First Bookstore in Decades

By Ewa Kern-Jedrychowska | May 16, 2017 3:38pm | Updated on May 17, 2017 7:57am
 The Queens Bookshop, which will open at 81-63 Lefferts Blvd., will be the first bookstore in the neighborhood in decades, locals said.
The Queens Bookshop, which will open at 81-63 Lefferts Blvd., will be the first bookstore in the neighborhood in decades, locals said.
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DNAinfo/Ewa Kern-Jedrychowska

QUEENS — Kew Gardens will soon be home to a new bookshop — the first such store in the neighborhood in more than three decades. 

The Queens Bookshop, which will be located at 81-63 Lefferts Blvd., between Cuthbert and Beverly roads, will open in about two months, the owners said.

“We are BEYOND excited to be able to share this announcement,” the group behind the initiative announced on its Facebook page. “We have finally found a storefront for our bookstore to call our home in #KewGardens!!!”

"It’s really humbling just to see how excited everybody is," said Holly Nikodem, one of the three women behind the initiative. ​

She also said the bookstore will have "a little bit of everything," including a designated section for authors from Kew Gardens and Queens in general.  

Kew Gardens, where many writers, artists and musicians live, has not had its own book store since the Austin Book Shop moved to Richmond Hill in 1984, where, according to its Facebook page it continues to sell old, rare and out-of-print books on Saturdays.

“It has been over 30 years since Kew Gardens has had a bookstore and it has no library ,” said Deborah Emin, a local writer and publisher. “We are so fortunate that they chose Kew Gardens as their location." 

Emin also said she hopes to work with the team on re-establishing a reading series she began in the neighborhood 10 year ago. 

“Having them open around the time of the Kew Gardens Film Festival and alongside all the events scheduled by Maple Grove Cemetery, the arts projects here and with kids out of school, they will be a key link to all that goes on in Kew Gardens,” Emin added.

Grace Anker, the owner of The Potter's Wheel, a local pottery studio, and member of Karing for Kew Gardens, a group working to improve the area, said the bookstore will be a great addition to the neighborhood.

"We are really thrilled and excited about it," Anker said. "To have it here in our neighborhood is such a boost for people of all ages who will now be able to get books [without leaving the neighborhood]."

Nikodem and her two colleagues, Vina Castillo and Natalie Noboa, met while working at the now-closed Barnes & Noble in Forest Hills. When the chain announced it was closing its last remaining locations in Queens, they decided to work on opening their own independent bookstore.

The group got a financial boost for their project from the community whose members contributed to their Kickstarter campaign last year, which exceeded its original goal, raising more than $72,000.

While looking for their brick-and-mortar location, the group also sold books at a number of pop-up locations throughout the borough, including Red Pipe Café and Cipollina Gourmet Italian Market in Forest Hills. They also had a booth at the LIC Flea & Food Market.

Currently, there is only one English-language bookstore in the borough — The Astoria Bookshop, although Book Culture, a popular bookstore with three locations on the Upper West Side, recently announced that it's planning to open a new location in Long Island City.