The first time I set foot in "Bluestockings," I felt a rush of late 70's nostalgia. I instantly recalled the first gay bookstore I visited when I lived in Philadelphia, a clean, airy space, named "Giovanni's Room" after one of the titles of the iconic African-American gay writer, James Baldwin.
I was shopping for an identity, back then, when I walked into that first store, and now, the older me realizes (especially when I happened into Bluestockings) that one's identity comes to them. It cannot be chased. It is in that spirit that I took inventory of all the things that Bluestockings had to offer. For although I landed pretty much in the middle-of-the-road, I can appreciate and enjoy the passion of those who label themselves "radical," as the participants of the collectively owned café-bookshop do.
The miracle is that in the year 2016 Bluestockings even exists, in Manhattan, at all. While a few independent bookstores grow in Brooklyn, even the venerable St. Mark's Bookshop, after a few saddening moves, closed its doors, not long ago. But Bluestockings, perhaps of, or because of its innocent outrageousness flourishes.
Where else can you find (in addition to the expected fare of topics such as feminism, queer and gender studies, and general progressive leaning politics) events including "Sober Poly Meetups?" There is also Deep Yoga for the limber reader.
One of the bedrocks of any bookstore, independent or not is the opportunity that is offered to emerging and established authors, reading to their literature-hungry audiences. Bluestockings selectively, but generously offers these readings, where politics takes a back seat to good old-fashioned storytelling.
Whether or not "Barista" is the politically-correct title of servers today, I have only been greeted by cheerful faces as I order a Fair Trade, no caffeine, sugar-free, vegan concoction of my choosing. They also have all the gooey stuff, as well.
Here is an example of two imminent events:
The August 10th 2016 (@ 7:00 pm - 9:30 pm) book release of Barbara J. Taylor's follow-up to her novel Sing in the Morning Cry in the Night-- All Waiting is Long will be hosted by the prolific author and teacher, Kaylie Jones (The Anger Meridian>, Lies My Mother Never Told Me).
The Somehow I Am Different Book (SAID) launch is August 11, 2016, @ 7:00 pm - 9:30 pm
Join Alyssa, the Somehow I Am Different Team, and family and friends for the launch of Alyssa's new book. SIAD is a narrative nonfiction anthology about identity and community in Jewish Budapest.
There will be a signing and Q & A, and of course a chance to peruse the venue's thousands of titles.
Bluestockings Bookstore and Café -- Allen Street, New York, NY 10002 Open 11 am - 11 pm daily
Be sure to check out the event section at http://bluestockings.com/ You are guaranteed to be surprised!