5. Housing Works, Reading for a Cause
Housing Works, down in SoHo, sells books and coffee for a cause. The umbrella organization is the largest community-based AIDS-service organization in the country, and is dedicated to eradicating AIDS and homelessness.
Housing Works has a number of thrift store locations as well as the bookstore cafe, the profits of which go to research and medication for AIDS. The bookstore, which has been open since 1994, is staffed by volunteers, and all the books stocked are donated.
The bookstore has a balcony seating area, spiral staircases, and a cafe area that sells coffee, tea, pastries, and sandwiches. The bright, spacious location also doubles as an event venue after hours—the space has hosted weddings, panels, movie nights, parties, and even live concerts.