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LES radical bookstore and café Bluestockings is closing

In times like these, we've never needed the activist center more.

Emma Orlow
Written by
Emma Orlow

Bluestockings—a feminist, radical bookstore, café and activist center—is closing its Lower East Side home at 172 Allen Street permanently. The team announced the closure on social media, writing, “We did not expect to ever be writing a statement like this. Due to so many unforeseen circumstances both pandemic-related and otherwise, we must leave our current location at 172 Allen Street in search of a new, more sustainable, accessible and safer home.” The letter continues to say that while they will be vacating their Lower East Side hybrid bookstore-cafe, that “this is not goodbye. This is a ‘wait for a new location announcement’ hopefully soon. The facts are: we have outgrown our space and want features that better accommodate and center our disabled collective and community. We want ramps and bathrooms and ventilation and chairlifts! We are committed to realizing this for our future home!”  

While the closure seems, in part, somewhat positive as the team reimagines how they can make their space more accessible to all types of New Yorkers, it does seem to come at a time in which we’ve never needed Bluestockings more. The recent reckonings with white supremacy during the past couple of months combined with Black Lives Matter protests, the pandemic, historic levels of unemployment and the natural cravings for community-oriented experiences unique to this lonely time have made spaces like Bluestockings more valuable than ever. The closing of Bluestockings joins the painful, growing list of closures to take place during the pandemic. 

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