Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Black Studies @ Strand Bookstore

(part of black studies section at Strand Bookstore)

Of all the stops on our journeys around New York City, one of the most important in my mind is the Strand Bookstore, located in Manhattan's East Village neighborhood. For the kind of creative, intellectual, and knowledge building work that we try to busy ourselves with, a place like the Strand is really something. This bookstore has this statement that it's the "home of 18 miles of New, Used, Rare and Out of Print Books."

Members of our black studies crew visited the Strand this past Saturday and Sunday. What a time we had just looking through those "miles" of books. We checked out sections on poetry, fiction, photography, sociology, and art. And of course one of our stops was the collection of African American topics in a section labeled "black studies."

I was telling folks in the crew that I first "discovered" Strand bookstore more than 10 years ago when I was participating in an exchange program for a semester at New York University. My visits to the Strand, several other used bookstores, and street book vendors across the city were crucial to my intellectual development and participation. The cool and really useful thing about wandering around such a massive bookstore like Strand is that you end up stumbling, accidentally, upon all kinds of topics, ideas, and authors.

(Black Studies traveler, Jessica, browsing books at Strand)

It was getting late Sunday night, and a group of us were still in the Village. I was starting to push the crew so we could make our way back uptown for a scheduled meeting with the entire group. Just as I was seeking out the nearest subway, one of the fellas said, "Rambsy, I want to check for this book on chess. We got time to stop by the Strand for just a minute?"

We really needed to get moving uptown. But how could I refuse one more visit to Strand?

The Wright bench in Brooklyn
Walking and Exploration in NYC
Photography and the City
Chess Lessons in NYC

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