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  THE STRAND BOOKSTORE (828 Broadway at 12th Street, NYC)

    Click twice on the photos to fully expand them. Then click the left arrow (back page) to get back.

The Strand Bookstore has been a New York institution since 1927. Now selling both new and used books (though primaritly used), in 2016 the New York Times called the Strand "the undisputed king of the city's independent bookstores."

It's also New York City's largest used bookstore: the store's tagline is "18 Miles of Books."

Since the 1970's many members of the New York rock scene have worked at the Strand, shelving books or ringing up books at the registers, including: Patti Smith, Tom Verlaine (Television), Richard Hell (The Voidoids), and Sam Shephad (who was for a time in the Fugs).

The Strand has also been featured in over a dozen movies and tv shows including Unfaithful, Remember Me, and Dash and Lily.

In this entry we will PopSpot the Strand's locations throughout the years.

The Strand in 1938. The location was 103 East 9th Street. (click to ENLARGE)

(Photo by Alexander Alland (1902-1989))

This is a close-up of the center of the photo. Notice the number 103 in the top half of the window again in the shadow.

By looking 103 East 9th, 10th, 11th, 12th, and 13th street, we found the perfect fit at 103 East 9th Street, which is half a block east of Book Row (Fourth Avenue) between 3rd Ave and 4th Ave on the North Side of the street.

Here's another view of the store from a different angle from the NYC Municipal Archives taken betwen 1938-1941.

From the looks of the first photo above, the Strand's space was the right side of the building at 103 East 9th Street.

Here's a photo of East 9th Street between 3rd Ave and 4th Ave. It comes from from the New York CIty Municipal Archive collection. Notice the perpendicular ("blade") sign in the same place as where the "Strand" sign was. (click to ENLARGE).

The Third Avenue elevated railroad can be seen in the back right. In the front left, is the Biblio and Tannen Bookstore which was located at the northeast corner of East 9th Street and Fourth Avenue.

I made a wider version of the photo so we could see the fronts of the buildings better. (click to Enlarge)

And here it is with the famous picture of the Strand Bookstore superimposed on it.

The building to the right of the Strand in the old photo (with the fire escape) is still there today. It is 105 East 9th Street with the sign "Toasted Deli" in the photo..

Here's a closer view of 105 East 9Th Street.

And here's the old photo of the Strand superimposed on it.

A BRIEF HISTORY OF THE STRAND AND ITS LOCATIONS - As determined from phone listings from old Manhattan telephone books at the New York Public Library; the book Book Row: An Anecdotal and Pictorial History of the Antiquarian Book Trade by Marvin Mondlin and Roy Meador (2003, Carroll and Graff Publishrs, New York); The Greenwich Village Society of Historic Preservation Oral History Project / interview with Fred Bass (2017); and articles in the New York Times.

1927 - Pelican Bookstore - 52 East 8th Street between Mercer and Green, south side.

. . . . . . . . . .The Strand begins as the Pelican Bookshop on 8th Street between Mercer and Green Streets.

. . . . . . . . . .The owner is Ben Bass who has been working some years in the Fourth Avenue book Row district, in books and in a fabric store. His wife is named Shirley Vogel (Bass). Ben was an immigrant from Lithuania. Shirley was an immigrant from Poland. She would pass away from cancer in 1934.

1928 - Pelican Bookstore - 52 East 8th Street between Mercer and Green, south side.

. . . . . . . . . .Fred Bass is born to the Bass's on June 28, 1927. He will later have a sister Dorothy.

1929 - Pelican Bookstore - 52 East 8th Street; Also listed under Bass, B. 52 East 8th Street.

. . . . . . . . . . In the 1929 phone book, the store is listed as both The Pelican Bookstore on 52 East 8th Street and as B. Bass (i.e. books) 52 East 8th Street between Green Street and Mercer Street. The location was abot two blocks west of "Book Row" on Fourth Avenue.

1930 - B. Bass - 52 East 9th Street. (Between University Place and Broadway.)

. . . . . . . . . . In 1930, the store moves a block north to 52 East 9th Street. Using the name B. Bass, (i.e Ben Bass) not Pelican Books, according to the phone books.

1931 - B. Bass - 52 East 9th Street.

. . . . . . . . . . The store stays on East 9th Street under the name B. Bass Books..

1932 - The store is not found (by me) in Manhattan phone books or directories.

. . . . . . . . . .This means that I could not find any mentionof the Pelican Bokshop, Strand Book Shop, or B. Bass books in either the MAnhattan White Pages or the Manhattan Reverse Directory (where you search by address).

1933 - Strand Bookshop; Shirley Bass - 94 4th Ave (which is the address of the U.S. Post Office)

. . . . . . . . . . This is the first mention of the Strand Bookshop in the telephone directories that I could find. The name Strand, and the name Shirley Bass (wife of Ben Bass) both use the address of the U.S. Post Office at 94 4th Ave at 11th Street, right in the heart of Book Row.

. . . . . . . . . . During the Depression, from 1932 to 1935, the Strand may have leased space from another bookstore, which might be why they are not found in the phone books. But, at least in 1933, their business could receive mail at the Post Office in the center of Book Row on Fourth Avenue.

. . . . . . . . . .Shirley and Benjamin Bass are listed in the NYC Directory as living at 119 St. Marks Place, Apt.1 during 1933-1934.

. . . . . . . . . . The name Strand is said to have come from the name of a famous commercial street in London near the theater district. The name "strand" come from the Old English strond meaning the beach or edge of a river.

1934 - Not found in phone books or directories.

1935 - Not found in phone books or directories.

1936 - Strand Bookshop - 103 East 9th Street. (Between Fourth Avenue and THird Avenue.)

. . . . . . . . . . The Strand Bookshop has moved to 103 East 9th Street and is listed in the "reverse" (by address) phone book.

1937 - Strand Bookshop - 103 East 9th Street.

. . . . . . . . . . A photo that is presently on the wall of the Strand, said to be taken in 1937, shows the shop at 103 East 9th Street. This is the same photo that appears on the magnets sold at the Strand.

1938 - Strand Bookshop - 103 East 9th Street

. . . . . . . . . . The Strand was likely here, but it's not in the phone books under either Strand, Pelican, or B. Bass or Shirley Bass.

1939 - Strand Bookshop - The location is probably either 103 East 9th Street or 81 Fourth Avenue It is not in the phone books..

1940 - Strand - 81 Fourth Avenue (Between Rast 10th Street and East 11th Street) ; Also listed under Bass, B. 81 Fourth Ave.

. . . . . . . . . . Both addresses are listed in the Sept 1940 reverse phone book.

. . . . . . . . . By moviing around the corner from East 9th Street to Fourth Avenue, the Strand officially became part of "Book Row" - the strip of Fourth Avenue beween East 8th Street and East 14th Street that had a history, since the 1890's, of being wall-to-wall used bookstores, sometimes having over 40 bookstores open at the same time. Rising rents would force most of the stores to move or close by the 1990's.

1941 - Strand 81 Fourth Avenue

1942 - Strand - 81 Fourth Avenue.

. . . . . . . . . . The address was also found in the NY Book Association book, of May 5, 1942

. . . . . . . . . . This was the year that Fred Bass, Ben's son, and the eventual owner, began worked occasionally in the store on weekends at age 13.

1943 - Strand 81 Fourth Avenue

1944 - Strand 81 Fourth Avenue

1945- Strand 81 Fourth Avenue

1946- Strand 81 Fourth Avenue

1947 - Strand 81 Fourth Avenue

. . . . . . . . . .A Strand picture of the Strand, listed as being taken circa 1947-1951 shows the Strand at this location.

1948 - Strand 81 Fourth Avenue

1949 - Strand 81 Fourth Avenue

1950 - Strand 81 Fourth Avenue

1951- Strand 81 Fourth Avenue

1952- Strand 81 Fourth Avenue

1953 - Strand 81 Fourth Avenue

1954 - Strand 81 Fourth Avenue

1955 - Strand 81 Fourth Avenue

1956 - Strand 81 Fourth Avenue

. . . . . . . . . Fred Bass takes over running most of the opertion from Ban Bass.

1957 Strand 828 Broadway (at 12th Street, northeast corner)

. . . . . . . . . .All the buildings along the entire block where the Strand was located on the east side of Fourth Avenue between East 10th and East 11th Street were sold to a real estate developer in 1954. The buildings were finally demolished (I think during 1956/1957) and a large apartment place was put in where many bookstore used to be.

. . . . . . . . . . The Strand moves to 828 Broadway at the northeast corner of 12th Street.

. . . . . . . . . . When the Strand moved to Broadway the store was not as large as it is today. At first they shared the ground floor with a clothng store. Later, they took over the whole first floor. Then later they added the basement, then later they added the 2nd and 3rd floor.

1958 - Strand 828 Broadway

1959 - Strand 828 Broadway

1960's - Strand 828 Broadway

. . . . . . . . . . . . During the 1960's the Strand opened two kiosks outside the southern end of Central Park at the corner of 60th Street and 5th Avenue. They are still there.

1970's - Strand 828 Broadway

. . . . . . . . . . Founder Ben Bass passes away in 1979.

1980's - Strand 828 Broadway

. . . . . . . . . . Nancy Bass begins working at the Strand with her father. She had acquired an MBA and previously worked for Exxon.

. . . . . . . . . . A separate "annex" to the Strand was opened in the FInancial District in the 1980. It was located first on Fulton Street in the South Street Seaport, then moved up the block to Fulton at Gold Street. It closed in 2008.

1990's - Strand 828 Broadway

. . . . . . . . . . Fred Bass buys the entire building at 828 Broadway for a reported $8.2 million. The Strand is said to have 2.5 million books, up from the 70,000 books they had on 4th Avenue.

. . . . . . . . . . During these years the Strand opened a warehouse in Sunset Park, Brooklyn.

2000's - Strand 828 Broadway

. . . . . . . . . . During the 2,000's Fred Bass's daughter Nancy spearheaded major renovations to the store including adding a new elevator and air conditioning, and growing the merchandising side of the business including t-shots and tot ebags.

2010's - Strand 828 Broadway

. . . . . . . . . Fred Bass retires in 2017, then passes away in 2018 at age 89.

. . . . . . . . . Nancy Bass Wyden became the store owner in 2018.

2020's - Strand 828 Broadway

. . . . . . . . . The Strand opens another store with mostly new books at 450 Columbus Avenue at 82nd Street on the Uppr West SIde.

ThIs map shows the location of the predecessor of the Strand Bookstore - Pelican Books at 52 East 8th Street in Greenwich VIllage. The location is about two blocks west of Fourth Avenue.

According to the Sanborn map, 52 East 8th Street, where Pellcan books was located from 1927 to 1929, had a front that was slightly set back from the other facades on the block.

That would indicate that in this photo of the block, it was the three-story building toward the left that was set back from the others. The Sanborn map also indicates that 52 East 8th Street was three stories hign and set between a 5-story and 6-story buildings, as this is.

This photo ws taken between 1939 and 1941 by the City. Pelican Books would have moved out about 10 years prior.

The Strand's second location was 52 East 9th Street. As shown on this map it was just about a block north of its former location at 52 East 8th Street.

This location was also about a block and a half west of Book Row along 4th Avenue. In the winter of 1929 through the Summer of 1930 the store was still called Pelican Books. It was also listed in the phone book as Bass, B. (Ben Bass), but not yet as the Strand.

Here is Pelican Books listing in the 1929-1930 phone book at 52 East 8th Street..

The building in the center of this photo with the 9 identical round-top windows is 52 East 9th Street, the second location of the Strand. This photo would have been taken about 10 years after the bookstore had moved out. The building has since been replaced by a large apartment building.

The sign means "Block 560, Lot 16, Manhattan." Between 1939 and 1941 NewYork City photographed every building on every block and lot in the five boroughs."

The next know location of the Strand was 103 East 9th Street. Those are the pictures we showed at the beginning. Here is one again.

Here's the 103 East 9th Street location on a map. This location would be considered "on Book Row" as it was only one building in from book row - Fourth Avenue.

The Strand next moved to 81 Fourth Avenue between East 10th Street and East 11th Street in 1940.

(Screengrab from a video on the Strand narrated by Fran Lebowitz.)

The Strand is the store in the middle in this color photo from the Strand Facebook page. You can just make out the number on the awning: 81 (Fourth Ave.). 79 Fourth Ave. , the Arcadia Book Shop, is on the right.

(Screengrab from a video on the Strand narrated by Fran Lebowitz.)

Here's where 81 Fourth Avenue was on a map of Fourth Avenue. All the buildings on that block have been replaced by a large apartment building.

This is a map of Book Row circa 1950. An arrow points to 81 Fourth Avenue, where the Strand was located from 1940 to 1954.

This is another view of the Strand taken during the period of 1939-1941. There is no banner sign above the store at this time.

Here is the same view of the Strand Book Store as above, except now we can see its location in the center of the block between East 10th Street and East 11th Street along Book Row. (click to ENLARGE)

In 1954 the Strand moved one block west from Book Row to its present location of 828 Broadway, which is on the northeast corner of East 12th Street and Broadway.

In this picture from 1940 there is a clothing store called CRAWFORD where the Strand will be 12 years later.

This is a picture of the Strand from 1976.

Note the books for sale outside for 25 to 35 cents each. Selling books cheaply outside was a longstanding tradition along Book Row to entice people into the stores, as many sales were made of more expensive books discovered when people came inside to buy the low-priced ones.

(photo by George Roos from Greenwich Village: A Photographic Guide (Grove, 1976 ) by Edmund T. Delaney & Charles Lockwood.)

This is a postcard used by the Store in the 1980's. Initially the store was composed of a basement, 1st, and 2nd floors, and a third floor for rare books and store offices. Later a mezzanine and and a four-story elevator would be added.

The tall building the Strand is in was called The National Building. The Strand bought the building in 1996. It is now called the Strand Building.

Here's a more recent panoramic shot of the Strand. (click to ENLARGE)

Here's a map showing the outline of the Strand at 828 Broadway.

Google Street View Maps even had a layout of the 1st floor of the Strand, showing the shelves.

This is a photo Ben Bass who started the Strand in 1927.

(photo via the Strand)

Here's the same shot of Ben Bass from further away. He is standing in front of the Strand Bookstore at 103 East 9th Street. That would put the picture between 1936 and 1939.

(photo via the Strand)

Here's another picture of the founder of the Strand, Ben Bass in his later years.

(photo via the Strand)

This is Ben (left) with his son Fred Bass, who would eventually take over running the store.

(photo via the Strand)

Here's Fred Bass in 1956 in the store.

(photo via the Strand)

Fred Bass, in a busy day at the book-buying counter, in a photo most likely from the 1970's. (photo from the New York Times)

A more formal Fred in the 1970's

Fred was always a familiar figure near the front of the store for years at the buy-back desk. After about 2000, the buyback desk, where people sold their books, moved to the back and the inventory went digital. They could process thousands of books a day.

Fred Bass passed away in 2018. In this photo, his bust stands at the entrance,

Another tribute to Fred Bass on a book table.

Nancy Bass Wyden, Fred's daughter, started working at the Strand at age 25 and eventually took over from her father. She is now the owner of the Strand.

Nancy Bass Wyden and her father, Fred Bass.

1st Floor (Ground Floor) - Entrance.

This is the view when you walk in the front door of the Strand.

FIrst Floor - Here's a reverse view of that.

1st Floor - The cashiers are on the left as you enter.

1st Floor - The books behind the cashiers have no glossy covers and are arranghed by the color of the outside of the book. John Waters, a Village resident, pretends to pen his name.

1st Floor - To the right of the John Waters picture is a large display showing the history of the Bass family members who have been in charge of the Strand.

First floor - All of the walls, columns, and ceilings are painted white -- except one.

As you enter you will see a gray column, with old Strand signs and photos on it. As a tribute to the Strand's long history, it was left unpainted and remains the color that the interior of the Strand was from 1952 until its renovation in the 2000's.

First floor - Here's a side view of the gray column, with historic pictures of the Strand on it.

First floor - This picture on the side of the column shows an earlier location of the Strand from around 1938.

First floor - This vintage photo from the Strand, which looks like it was taken in the 1970's, shows the old original gray columns.

(source: The Strand)

First floor - Straight back from this is buy back desk. The buy back desk used to be at the side and was manned by the owner, Fred Bass for many years. The Strand website tells what kinds of books they are looking for and the hours that the counter is open.

First floor - Near the buy-back desk is a small cafe.

A picture of the first floor from the mezzanine.

First floor - Here's the front of the store from the mezzanine..

First floor - The Strand says it has over 18 miles of books on their 4 floors of shelves.

First floor - There is a store directory next to the elevator. You can click the photo to enlarge it to read it better.

Second Floor -If you get off the elevator on the 2nd floor, the first thing you will see is the Arts Books Desk.

Second Floor - If you go to your right there are art and photography books.

Second Floor - To the left are books on graphic design, fashion, and other arts.

Second floor - In the back of the second floor is an extensive collection of new and used juvenile and children's books.

Second floor - The children's book section has a small table at which kids can look at the books.

Second floor - There are some display cabinets showing rare or 1st edition books.

Mezzanine - You can walk down to the mezzanine from the second floor. (The stairs continue down to the ground floor.)

Mezzanine - The Mezzanine has old and new books about New York and guidebooks to New York.

Mezzanine - Along the wall next to the stairs is an illlustrated history of the Strand.

Third Floor - The third floor used to be the rare book department. Now it is used for book readings and signings by authors.

Third Floor - An author (Mark Morris) reading on the third floor.

Third Floor - To get to a third floor book reading you usually walk up from the second floor.

Third Floor - A sign on the street for some of the many author readings on the Third Floor.

Basement (a.k.a. the "Strand Underground" ) - The basement carries books on a wide variety of subjects including business, law, religion, science, music, and travel.

This is the information and check-out counter you will see at the bottom of the stairs.

Basement - This is the view to the right at the bottom of the steps.

Basement - This is the view to the left at the bottom of the steps.

Basement - Here's a sign from the Music books section. They also sell some vinyl and old sheet music.

Basement - If you look at the overhead outline of the building, there is a small square area that juts out from the main building. In the basement, the area is filled with the World Languages department.

Basement - Signs indicating subject areas can bring a smile to your face.

The Strand flag usually flies outside the building.

Low-priced books on carts line the area along 12th Street, a tradition since the birth of the store.

The Strand at night.

The Strand at Christmastime.

The Strand has a new, uptown store on the Upper West Side at 450 Columbus Avenue between 81st and 82nd Street. It mainly sells new books, with a large basement for children's books.

The Strand has had koisks for many years just outside of the southern end of Central Park at the corner of 5th Avenue and 60th Street.

Here's another view of the kiosks.

The Strand had an annex on Fulton Street at GOld Street near the South Street Seaport for several years in (I think) the 1990's, but it is closed now. This was a pictue of it.

Under the heading "What's the most-filmed Bookstore in the world?" the website Lithub.com listed The Strand as the most filmed bookstore in the world. Here's there list of movies filmed there:

Here's a scene from "Unfaithful" (2002) with Diane Lane.

Here's a scene from 1988's "The House on Carroll Street" with Kelly McGillis trying to knock over a bookcase onto the bad guys.

Here's another shot of Kelly McGillis at the Strand from "The House on Carroll street."

Robert Pattinson played a Strand employee in 2010's "Remember Me."

Dash (Austin Abrams), in a scene from the 2020 tv series "Dash and Lily," reading a book in the Strand stacks.

Here are three groups of photos, from the wall of the Strand, showing some of the many authors who have shopped or given readings at the Strand over the years, along with some celebrity shoppers from the movie world.

In addition, its countless notable customers have included Saul Bellow, Kurt Vonnegut, Fred Gwynne, Lee Strasberg, Maurice Sendak, George Wills, Karl Icahn, Umberto Eco, Abbie Hoffman, Richard Gere, E. L. Doctorow, and Jules Feiffer.

And we'll end with New York's own Lou Reed - musician, author, and poet - checking out the bargain bins in a 1986 photo by Waring Abbott.