DART Diary: Indie Bookstores, V.2

By Peggy Roalf   Thursday June 20, 2024


In just a couple of hours, the Solstice will mark the official start of Summer. And the season’s first heatwave is already on, so it’s a good time to update the DART list of NYC’s Indie Bookstores offering cool escapes, both physical and otherwise. 

192 Books, at 192 Tenth Avenue (above), is not a new addition—it somehow slipped off the list during a page overhaul, so here are the details on this fixture of the Chelsea gallery district. 

Founded by gallerist Paula Cooper and publisher Jack Macrae in 2003, the store has tables devoted to translated fiction, art books, children's books, and staff picks, and readers are able to have their book purchases wrapped for free. 192 Books offers books of lasting interest on a variety of subjects, including literary fiction, works in translation, art and photography, film, poetry, music, history, biography, natural history, science, and  current affairs. The store also offers regular readings by distinguished writers and artists; events are free of charge and don't require a reservation. Info



Nearby, La Joie de Vivre, at 145 West 27th Street offers books in both French and English along with a delightful café with a French twist, and gifts for adults and games for kids on the side. Opened just a few months ago, La Joie de Vivre is the passion project of Cyril Dewavrin, a bookstore owner for more than twenty years and owner of Librairie La Comédie Humaine in the South of France.

“La Joie de Vivre is first and foremost a place of rendez-vous for all to celebrate all kind of arts, literature and reading,” said Dewavrin. “By combining books, bakery and art exhibitions in a friendly Paris-inspired atmosphere, we are offering busy New Yorkers an opportunity to put down their phones, stimulate the senses, read and relax.” A robust menu of readings and events will be coming soon. Info



For founder Maria Herron, the opening of Mil Mundos in 2018 was a way to preserve the culturally rich community of Bushwick against the reaches of continuing gentrification. Making history as the first bilingual bookstore in Brooklyn, at 323 Linden Street, customers will find titles on the shelves available side by side in English and Spanish, the dominant language spoken in Bushwick. 

Herron and her team provide a bevy of literature, illustrated books, and poetry that celebrates Black, Latinx, and Indigenous heritage. Also, for those wishing to learn a second language, Mil Mundos hosts personalized six-week-long Spanish courses via Zoom. Info



Located at 129 Sixth Avenue in Park Slope, Troubled Sleep provides a wide range of used and new books at an affordable price. Organized by genre, with thoughtful curation from the staff, each section is full of wonders.  The well-stocked art section includes books on art, art theory, photography, modern and premodern, crafts, fashion, and artistic instruction. Though the shop focuses mostly on used books, the small selection of new books focuses on highlighting titles that are not always easy to acquire in bigger bookstores. 

This cozy shop is part of a well-loved community of indie bookstores in Brooklyn — the borough’s beloved Books Are Magic opened a second location in Brooklyn Heights last October, and Troubled Sleep is also within walking distance of Community Bookstore in Park Slope and the two Greenlight Bookstore locations in Fort Greene and Prospect Lefferts Gardens. Instagram: @troubledsleepbooks

You can read the rest of the list here. Stay tuned for the return of our Pimp Your Bookcases series, coming soon! 
And please send info about your favorite independent bookstore to