Development Plan Hints at New Book Culture Store


A rendering of a new storefront on 86th Street submitted to the Landmarks Preservation Commission

Book Culture closed its store on Columbus Avenue between 81st and 82nd Streets early this year amid sales troubles and an ownership dispute. But a filing with the Landmarks Preservation Commission points to the possibility of a new Book Culture store opening in the neighborhood.

An application to the commission for a new facade at 55 West 86th Street between Columbus and Central Park West has a rendering of a new storefront on it. And the sign above the entrance says “Book Culture.” The applicants want to restore elements of the facade of the building, which was built in 1889 and then changed in 1928, according to the application. The storefront currently appears to be vacant, according to photos with the application. Building permits show owner Landmark Realty wants to put a retail business on the ground floor and turn the second floor into an office, a change from its current residential use.

We asked Chris Doeblin, the owner of Book Culture, if he’s planning on opening a shop there, and he responded “no comment.”

Thanks to our tipster Upper West Sider.

NEWS, OPEN/CLOSED | 11 comments | permalink
    1. Wijmlet says:

      Sounds good so far

    2. UWSmom says:

      I hope the store can become a destination of sorts. That location does not have much foot traffic.

    3. GG says:

      What is the obsession with this failed Book Culture store? I don’t really get it.

      Wasn’t this guy accused of fraud and misrepresentation, among other things, with regard to raising money to run his business. Not to mention the feud with his partner. It’s nothing but drama with this guy.

      How about a follow-up on the charges against him. That would be more informative. Do we even want him here if he was being shady?

    4. cma says:

      Well, any bookstore on 86 st.off Columbus might be nice and a snippet of compensation for there not being any bookstore from 86 street to 106 st. CPkWest to RSDrive. We really need a bookstore in the 90’s. C’mon, already!! There was once Womanbooks, and a small “Liberation”style store on Amsterdam Ave. and a MurderInc.on Broadway. Diversity in the 90-94 streets.

      • Bernard Kabak says:

        There’s West Side Judaica at 2412 Broadway @ 89 St. Lots of books, and not all are devotional

      • Anna says:

        I remember WomenBooks! I came across an old bookmark of theirs in one of my old books.

        Does anyone remember the wonderful books and cards store that used to be between 73rd St.on Columbus avenue in the late 80s? It carried a lot of Green Tiger Press books and golden age of children’s book illustration cards (Arthur Rackham, Edmund Dulac, Walter Crane, etc.).

        There were such great UWS independent stores in the late 70s. I wish the current lowering of rents would bring back the retail days of Alice Underground and other shops representing individual creative visions.

    5. VERONICA says:

      Chris Doeblin – The guy that ran the Columbus Avenue store into the ground and felt that the City was obligated to support him since he provides an essential service. REALLY?

      • Real(Estate)Thoughts says:

        Let’s be honest here. A bookstore is an asset, any bookstore is an asset. Especially in what used to be an eyesore in the neighborhood. Besides, maybe this will finally convince someone to take the corner space.

    6. Linda Wine says:

      Is he still anti-union? I think he was complaining last year that employee wages were making his business uncompetitive but mentioned nothing about the cost of rent, etc.

      As ‘you know who’ says, “I’m not a big fan.”

    7. Merv Kaufman says:

      I think it would be terrific to have a bookstore on 86th Street. The Upper West Side is filled with folks who live to read and who, I’m sure, will patronize this store. I hope the proposed retailer becomes an actuality.

    8. Thomas says:

      Enough with this Book Culture swindler. Can’t we move on from his shifty ways already?