Imagine turning back the clock 20 years to a time when small businesses still thrived on the Upper West Side, people read books printed on paper, and your computer said “You’ve Got Mail” when someone emailed you.
Book Culture is doing just that with a new sign in the store window it plans to take over on Columbus Avenue between 81st and 82nd street.
The sign says:
“Dear New York,
You’ve Got Mail
20 years ago, an independent bookstore was forced from this space by a retail giant, which many say partly inspired the movie You’ve Got Mail, starring meg Ryan and Tom Hanks. This fall, the story continues…”
The bookstore forced out of 20 years ago was Endicott Booksellers, which closed in 1995, and the retail giant is Barnes & Noble. The New Yorker visited Endicott when it was about to close:
“There are three words for why we’re going under, and the words are ‘Barnes & Noble,’” the owner of Endicott for the past fourteen years, Encarnita Quinlan, said. According to Quinlan, the advent two years ago of the Barnes & Noble “superstore” a couple of blocks west, on Broadway, wiped out a pattern of steady growth at Endicott and cut her sales by as much as forty per cent. “The neighborhood is now filled with Filene’s Basement, Today’s Man, Barnes & Noble,” Stuart Bernstein, Quinlan’s buyer, said. “Soon it will be like the shopping mall I grew up with.”
If only Nora Ephron were still alive to write You’ve Got Mail 2: You’ve Got a Tweet. (Okay, that was weak. If you can think of a better sequel title, let us know in the comments.)
One more fun fact: The Shop Around the Corner from You’ve Got Mail is now a laundromat.
Thanks to Emily Baer for the photos of Book Culture, and Ittai for the Endicott boomark.