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New York’s only secret bookshop loses its lease

Photograph: Andrew David Watson

In a prewar apartment building on the Upper East Side, a trove of literature known as Brazenhead Bookshop will soon be ousted. Originally located on Atlantic Avenue in Brooklyn, Brazenhead’s initial incarnation gave author Jonathan Lethem his first job some 30-odd years ago, then owner Michael Seidenberg moved to a commercial space on the Upper East Side. After that, rent quadrupled, so he moved the shop’s contents to his apartment. He and his wife eventually relinquished the space to the books. With three rooms populated not by people but by books, it may be a true bibliophile’s dream but one that's the result of New York rent raises.

Seidenberg recently announced to his Facebook friends (one of the best ways to find the shop’s address and find out about gatherings is to “friend” the owner) that the shop has lost its lease and will no longer exist in its current locale come October 31. On social media, the shop's owner and its fans already mourn with notes like, “What did I think the end of times was gonna be like?” and “There should be more Brazenhead, more CBGB and less assholes.” But of course, Goonies and book-lovers never say die, so like St. Mark’s Bookshop before, Brazenhead is looking for support. On its brand-new website, fans can sign up for updates on the eviction and Seidenberg’s future plans.

In the meantime, Seidenberg will continue selling books and hosting salons through October. But you’ll have to get the address yourself.

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