Coliseum Books (www.coliseumbooks.com) began in 1974 and used to be located near the Coliseum, at the corner of Broadway and West 57th Street. In 2003, Coliseum Books relocated to 11 West 42nd Street, opposite the New York Public Library. It's one of the few New York City bookstores that's not named Barnes & Noble or Borders.
So Coliseum Books is not near the Coliseum, and Madison Square Garden is not at Madison Square, and Manhattan College is not in Manhattan, and the Broadway Blueshirts don't play on Broadway or wear blue shirts at home, and an egg cream has neither egg nor cream
Coliseum Books to Reopen on June 17.
13 June 2003
PRNewswire NEW YORK June 13
NEW YORK, June 13 /PRNewswire/ - Coliseum Books, New York's largest independent general bookstore, will reopen at 11 West 42nd Street between 5th and 6th Avenues, across from the New York Public Library and Bryant Park on Tuesday, June 17.
In January 2002, after years of successfully fighting off competition from national bookstore chains and online retailers, Coliseum Books was forced to close its original store, at Broadway and 57th Street, when its lease ended and the rent skyrocketed. At the time, it had been in business for twenty-seven years. Since then, there has been an outpouring of support for its reopening. "I've been in mourning for Coliseum since it closed. New York readers deserve this reprieve," said Susan Sontag in a recent article in the Daily News.
The attachment its customers feel for the store is matched only by the dedication of the store's own staff. Richard Urciuoli, buyer since 1976 and longtime general manager, has brought together key personnel from the old store including buyers, managers and clerks, many of whom have more than 15 years of service with the store. "I was happy to get the same experienced staff back," says Urciuoli. "The identity of the store really reflects the knowledge and tastes of the people who work here. We pay attention to the details and I think we have a good sense of what people want."
Though the new store is smaller (8,500 square feet of selling space) than the original, it will still stock nearly as many titles as before, an estimated 100,000. Other new features have been added as well. An adjoining cafe, opening in July and serving sandwiches, coffee and pastries, will be the site for readings, art exhibits and book signings starting in September. A monthly newsletter and a website ( http://www.coliseumbooks.com/) will provide updates on store events, promotions and featured titles.
Founded in July 1974 by partners Irwin Hersch, the late Sy Rubin, and managing partner George S. Leibson, Coliseum Books came to be known as a bookstore for dyed-in-the-wool booklovers. Widely praised as a quintessential New York institution, Coliseum was frequently honored over the years, garnering honors including "Best Bookstore in New York" (New York Magazine, 1996) and "Our Favorite Bookstores" (San Francisco Bay Chronicle, 1996), and a spot on Pete Hamill's list of reasons for staying in New York (New York Post, 1991).
Coliseum's deep and eclectic supply of books, its labyrinthine aisles of bookshelves, and its vast array of promotional books converted many a customer unfazed by its somewhat austere aesthetic. Carefully selected sections in music, theater and film were virtually unsurpassed by other general bookstores, as were sections on art and travel. As one fan recently put it, "Coliseum was the best - not the biggest, not the prettiest-just the best. There's nothing like a great book institution being reborn. That's really good news."
When asked why he ultimately decided to reopen the store in what many consider a challenging economic climate, Leibson replied, "When I walked down the sidewalk, people would say, "Hey - aren't you that person who had the bookstore? They'd say, 'We miss you!' So, we're coming back." To welcome back its loyal customers, the store is offering a Re-Opening Special: With every purchase of $50, the customer can select one of a selection of 10 books free, while supplies last. Coliseum Books
CONTACT: Nancy Maron of Coliseum Books, +1-212-803-5892, or