When I moved to New York in 1983, Coliseum Books, just a block away from my apartment, was my favorite hangout on Sunday afternoons. It was a real, independent bookstore. It was huge and maybe a little dusty. It was clear that the staff actually read books. There was jazz or other good music playing in the background as I browsed the shelves and tables, finding new reading delights.
During the economic downturn following 9/11, the Coliseum store at Broadway and 57th closed. A new store opened a few years later on West 42nd Street, but it wasn't the same. Now that store has closed, too.
One bonus of my book organizing effort yesterday was finding several Coliseum Books bookmarks, all in pristine condition. As I mark my place in my new reading matter, I will feel the glow of those Sunday afternoons in the best bookstore ever.