Michael Seidenberg, the owner of New York City's Brazenhead Books, has died.
Seidenberg opened his first bookstore in Brooklyn in 1979 and a year later moved it to East 84th Street in Manhattan. After closing that store in 1987 due to rising rents, he ran his store as an itinerant pop-up shop and then as an appointment-only operation out of his apartment.
The bookseller was a beloved, if eccentric, figure in New York literary circles, one who was deemed worth of being featured in The New Yorker, which also produced a short film about the store. The store, which sold used and collectible books, attracted literary treasure hunters. (The author Jonathan Lethem, aged 15, was one of Seidenberg's first employees in Brooklyn, trading labor for books, and has written about his experiences with Seidenberg.)
Remembrances of Seidenberg poured in on Twitter, with many people lamenting the loss to New York's literary scene.
Michael loved books. And he loved people who loved books. And he wanted to be surrounded by them but also hated leaving the Upper East Side. Thus, a secret bookstore that was for people who loved books enough to come to an illogical place at improbable times to buy them.— Isaac Butler (@parabasis) July 9, 2019
Take the time to think, then have a drink and then think— A. N. Devers (@andevers) July 9, 2019
some more. Use both sides
of your brain. Trust your gut but embrace your inner counterintiuitionist and please feel free to use long
words that don’t exist. You’ll thank me nevereverendingly. -Michael Seidenberg
Michael Seidenberg was one of the greatest New Yorkers I could name, and Brazenhead was one of the city's most magical spaces because it so reflected its owner. A terrible loss.— Nicholas Mancusi (@NicholasMancusi) July 9, 2019