Manhattan’s Books of Wonder children’s bookstore will close its Upper West Side location when its building is handed off to new owners at the end of June. Owner Peter Glassman announced the impending store closure in a June 4 e-mail to customers, and wrote that he is actively looking at new potential locations nearby. Operations at the children’s bookstore’s flagship location on West 17th Street will be unaffected by the closing.
The bookstore’s second location opened in 2017 and has steadily become a mainstay for families, according to Glassman, who said that changing work patterns during the pandemic seem to be holding as the city emerges from more than a year of lockdowns. “We’ve seen a bit of a surge recently on the Upper West Side, because people are working from home still, but now they’re willing to go out,” Glassman told PW.
Yet there were also challenges caused by the constantly changing real estate environment around the store. Multiple buildings on Broadway adjacent to the store were demolished nine months before the pandemic, and the absence of neighboring retail impacted business. The nearby Children’s Museum is also slated to move to a new location soon.
While closing a location and finding a new one is challenging, none of the changes in the neighborhood has diminished Glassman’s sense that the Upper West Side is the right place for a children’s bookstore. Meanwhile, the store’s flagship location in Chelsea continues to thrive, four decades after its founding in the West Village.
On June 5, Google, which has just opened a store nearby, partnered with the store to give a free book to the store’s first 200 customers. A newly designed website, launched just before the pandemic, has also boosted sales and Glassman is planning a slate of events for the fall.
Until it closes at the end of this month, the Upper West Side location will be offering books at a 20% discount, and Glassman told customers he hopes to have a new location secured by early fall at the latest. In his e-mail to readers, he wrote, “We love the Upper West Side and hope to continue being a part of the supportive and welcoming community that has been so wonderful over the past years.”