With a boost from volunteers who began helping with painting in late July and alphabetizing inventory over the weekend, The Astoria Bookshop, in the Queens neighborhood, will open next week, according to co-owner Lexi Beach. “I don’t really know what day it’ll be,” she told PW. “There are still a lot of pieces that have to come together before the doors open.” she said. Beach and partner Connie Rourke are planning a grand opening celebration for sometime after Labor Day. But it is farther down on their to-do list. They did just check off one item, online ordering from their Web site.
That there’s a lot of excitement surrounding the store is evidenced not only by the number of volunteers Beach and Rourke have gathered before they even open their doors, but by the success of an Indiegogo campaign they launched in mid-July. Within 24 hours they received 40% of their goal of $4,000 to stock more books, especially graphic novels, cookbooks, picture books, and YA fantasy. Less than 48 hours before the campaign ends on August 15 at 11:59 pm, the store is on track to receive double that. Donations were at $7,314 at 9 o’clock this morning.
While Astoria Bookshop will be only general independent bookstore in Queens since the closing of Seaburn Bookstore in 2011, it is not the only new bookstore to open in the neighborhood. In July, sci fi specialty store Enigma Bookstore had a soft opening. Its grand opening was held on August 4, and it is busily lining up events like a signing with local author Matt Thomas for his first novel, A Breach in Death. Plus it is inviting sci fi, fantasy, and mystery novelist to use its space for National Writing Month in November. The stated mission of the store, which was founded by Claire LaPlaca and Hugh Brammer, is “to celebrate the geek in us.”
For those looking for kids books in particular, The StoryNook opened in babyNOIR in Astoria last year. In Mommy Nearest, blogger Stephanie Barnhart described it as “the cutest little store and bookstore for kids. Ever.”
With three bookstore openings within a year, Queens is starting to look like the next Brooklyn.