I am hoping to get a chance to travel into Manhattan today. I would like to visit the Strand Bookstore. Not far from the Strand Bookstore is Forbidden Planet, so I should be able to get a chance to go to both a bookstore and a comic book shop today.
I will be heading through Grand Central station. They have Posman books there. It is one of the best organized and cleanest bookstores I have ever seen. Everything always seems to be in its place there. I occassionally pick up a paperback science fiction book from there. They don't have the hugest selection, but a lot of what they do select for the customer is well chosen.
I took the train into grand central after doing some morning chores. It was pleasant going into Manhattan. I just sat this time and didn't read. Sometimes it is soothing listening to the clicking of the wheels.
I got to the village and got off the fourteenth street stop. First I went to Forbidden Planet. It has a very different feel than it used to have. They now have an open upstairs where they sell games and manga. It was fun going upstairs because it was kind of nostalgic looking at all the different dice and games.
I looked around downstairs as well. They had quite a few different comic books with a very large alternative comic books. I noticed that the large format collected graphic novels for DC are called Showcase Presents. I also took a look at the science fiction paperbacks. They have an awful lot of series paperbacks like Star Trek, Star Wars, Iron Man, and quite a few superhero novels.
They even had a superhero mass market paperback called The Judge Dredd Omnibus. I used to love reading Judge Dredd before Sylvester Stallone took the role of the main character for the movie and and nearly wrecked the franchise completely with his terrible acting.
After I went to Forbidden Planet, I went to the Strand Bookstore. The Strand Bookstore has changed and improved itself. It bought the second story of the building it was in and expanded the art books to the second floor as well as the childrens books. There is also a nice new elevator to all four floors in the bookstore. I remember when they had a tiny little unisex bathroom that was always filled with graffiti. They put in two new clean bathrooms.
I was not impressed with the selection of science fiction books. It did not have that good of a selection. However, they had a very nice selection of graphic novels, focusing mainly on comics literature and alternative comics. I bought a copy of a graphic novel, In Odd We Trust written by Queenie Chan and Dean Koontz, illustrations by Queenie Chan. It looks interesting, it was also very affordable, $5.50, half the cover price of $11.00. Their graphic novel section seems to not compete that much with Forbidden Planet because it does not have the same focus.
I also looked through the fantasy art section of the Strand and bought a large oversized book called Fantasy of the 20th Century, An Illustrated History, By Randy Broecker for $11.95, the price on the cover is $19.95. They seem to be able to sell many of their books at a deep discount. At one time, they even sold reviewers copies mass market paperbacks at half cover price. I noticed that they stopped doing this, except for in specific sections. Now, they sell trade paperback and hardcover reviewers copies at half price. This is quite a good deal.
If you look around the store, you can find interesting bargains. I bought two copies of journals with Cat In The Hat covers for $3.95 each. I also bought a copy of Best Loved Tales of Beatrix Potter for $7.95 which contains four Beatrix Potter books. It seems like I went on a brief spending spree.
When I walked down the block to see if the Astor Place Barnes and Nobles was still there, I noticed that it had closed its doors. I asked someone when this had happened. They told me "about three months ago."
After going into the newly renovated Strand, I can see why other local bookstores could not compete with it. I also noticed that they had renovated the bag check area so it was easier to take and give back bags as well as added a whole new set of merchandies with the store logo. Their website is pretty well done as well. http://www.strandbooks.com/
After I was done going to the Strand, I walked down to 7th Avenue and 14th Street in Manhattan. I wanted to go to Rogerst Time Tunnel. If you look up on the second floor on 7th Avenue there is an awning which says Rogers Time Tunnel, Nostalgia. I hadn't been there for two years. When I went inside, it looked as if nothing had changed.
It was like stepping back in time two years. Roger, the owner of the store, asked me if I still new about the store in New Utrecht which had old magazines for sale. I said I didn't. It really didn't matter. It was pure nostalgia for me. He also said, except for my taking care of the paperbacks to make sure they were priced and in order, nothing had changed. I used to pick up collectible paperbacks for trade for him as well as old magazines. I haven't done this for a very long time.
I took a few minutes to go through the ground level comic books. I picked out four copies of Andromeda which is a science fiction comic book from the 1980's. No. 1 features James Tiptree's The Man Who Walked Home, No. 2 features A. E. Van Vogt's Process, No. 3 features Arthur C. Clarke's Exile of the Aeons, and No. 4 features Jack Vance's Narrow Land. Narrow Land was my favorite story of all four of these. It tells the story of conflict between different groups of amphibious egg laying bipeds with different head crests. I read these on the train coming home.
There was also a free sample comic preview of The Stand by Stephen King which is coming out in comic book form soon. I enjoyed my brief visit to Manhattan.
Right next to Roger's is a small donut cafe called The Donut Pub. It has been at its location since 1964. The donuts and coffee really are quite good. The clientele is a bit shabby, but I still like to sit and read comic books there sometimes and sip coffee. I got a blueberry crumb cruller and a cup of coffee and sat and read the sample comic preview of The Stand.