As communications agency for I Love New York, we bring you a regular series of “five things we love” about our State, commencing today with our favorite bookstores – in Hudson, Colgate, Ithaca, Niagara Falls, and Glen Falls. New York State is the ground of great American authors such as James Fenimore Cooper, Susan B Anthony, Saul Bellow, Taylor Caldwell, John Cheever and many others: a guarantee that you’ll find it is the fertile turf for the cultivation of great independent bookstores.
It doesn’t get any better than this — a bar in a bookstore. The Spotty Dog Books & Ale, located in a beautiful old firehouse in Hudson New York, has eight artisan beers on tap and serves five varieties of wine. They also have over 10,000 new books in all categories, including a large section of unique books and toys for kids, preteens, an expanded local section, history, gardening, food & wine and sections featuring local writers and interests. The Spotty Dog also hosts several books clubs, including a banned books group, which reads and discusses books that are banned, or have been banned at one time, whether by a school district in Texas or a government in Europe
The Colgate Bookstore in Hamilton, the home of Colgate University, isn’t just for textbooks and T-shirts. In addition to Colgate merchandise, this independent bookstore offers general books, dorm supplies, gifts, music, and movies — and a full schedule of public events, from book signings and readings to “knit-ins” and children’s programs. Since moving to its current downtown location in 2002, they have hosted more than 250 appearances by authors such as Andy Rooney, Jesse Jackson and Chris Hedges.
Located in the heart of the Finger Lakes in Ithaca, New York (“the most enlightened” town in the U.S. according to the Utne Reader), The Bookery is actually two quite different bookstores under one roof. Bookery I, opened in 1975, is Ithaca’s oldest and largest used and out-of-print bookstore. It was joined in 1985 by Bookery II, a dynamic, independent bookstore with more than 70,000 titles in stock. In a town noted for having a higher proportion of bookstores per capita than most, Bookery I & II were rated “the two best bookstores” in Ithaca by the Lonely Planet Guide to New York.
The oldest, largest independent bookstore in Western New York, The Book Corner has been a Niagara Falls institution since 1927. The store has moved and expanded over the years until now it encompasses three floors and 10,000 square feet on Main Street. Says one reviewer: “This bold little building is filled from basement to second story with every manner of book imaginable. New books, used books, classic titles, obscure titles, best sellers, and books you’ve never heard of — it’s a treasure hunt for any avid reader.”
Glens Falls, a scenic town just south of the giant Adirondack Park, got its first independent bookstore in an estimated 40 years when husband-and-wife owners Naftali Rottenstreich and Susan Fox opened their eponymously named Red Fox Books in 2006. (Rottenstreich means red stripe.) The store stocks 10,000 titles and hosts frequent readings, particularly by local authors, and a number of groups, including a great books group and a knitters group, are meeting at the store.