McNally Jackson to open Williamsburg branch in the fall

In searching for a new location for beloved indie bookshop, owner Sarah McNally forsakes the isle of Manhattan for the shores of Brooklyn

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McNally Jackson

McNally Jackson Photograph: Courtesy McNally Jackson


Only the mustachioed Monopoly tycoon would argue in favor Manhattan's affordability, and absolutely no one would argue that bookselling is a growth industry. Still, in a world of folding mom-and-pop shops as well as mammoth chains, Soho's McNally Jackson has been one of the bright spots for indie lovers in New York City since it opened (as McNally Robinson) in 2004. Against all odds—Amazon, e-readers, decreasing overall readership and high Manhattan rents, of course—it has become a part of the fabric of the neighborhood, attracting as many readers seeking translated Catalan poetry as curious pedestrians.

While stalwarts like the Strand keep on ticking, most newer independent shops—e.g., the powerHouse Arena, Greenlight Bookstore and WORD, which has recently also opened a branch in Jersey City—have taken root in cheaper, lit-friendly Brooklyn. Still, if someone were going to swim against the current and expand in Manhattan, it'd be McNally Jackson's owner Sarah McNally. (She's already opened the McNally Jackson Store, a spot for leather-bound notebooks and other high-end writers' goods around the corner from the original bookshop.)

But as was mentioned in a New York Times article on Friday, McNally found Manhattan prohibitively expensive when she was searching for another location. While this is not surprising, it sucks—and it surely will give any new indie booksellers looking to conquer New York City pause. Thankfully, though, we can all look forward to a new McNally space in Williamsburg, which is reportedly opening in the fall.


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Editor: Marley Lynch (@marleyasinbob)

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