2. The Strand’s Hidden Gems

No list of New York’s independent bookstores would be complete without The Strand, the independent and rare books bookstore founded in 1927. The store’s slogan is “18 miles of books”, because if you lined up every book in the store side by side, it would stretch across more than 18 miles. The store is massive for an independent bookstore, with three floors full of shelves.

The Strand, named after the street in London, has become well-known, but there are still places within its hallowed shelves that get less traffic than others. The third floor rare book room, for example, is notably less crowded than the first and second floors. Reachable only by elevator, it has a reading nook area with armchairs, and display cases with rare first-edition books.

The Underground level of the Strand, below the Main floor, is also full of hidden gems. It features non-mainstream books, secondhand titles, records, textbooks, and banned books. Many of the books on this level are much cheaper than those on the floor above

The Underground books are certainly cheaper than the store’s current most expensive volume, an edition of James Joyce’s Ulysses, signed by both the author as well as painter Henri Matisse, who did the illustrations for the edition; the book is currently priced at a cool $45,000.