A neighborhood staple for 28 years, Mercer Street Books and Records is the sort of sagging-shelf, affordable-yet-interesting store of yesteryear that once filled this area of the city. Whether it’s 11 AM or 11 PM, its pink neon sign serves as a welcoming beacon that greets every passer-byer with the promise of books. This isn’t some meticulously curated bookstore with new, hot releases, yet meandering through the endless shelves and stacks ensures you’ll leave with exactly what you never knew you needed.
The store houses books of all types, from art history to weird, old sci fi and beyond, all at an affordable price point. It’s the type of store that encourages lingering, where you could read two chapters in before deciding to buy a book. Best of all, it’s the kind of whimsical place that seemingly is different and exactly the same every time you visit. The books may still be filling every nook and cranny, but the titles are totally different. If you see something you want, buy it, you may never see it again.
This is a long-running book store facing a new challenge– not high rent or dwindling clientele, nor ruthless competition. Mercer Street Books and Records is across the street from 181 Mercer Street, a large, long-term NYU construction project that’s hurting both routine business operations like deliveries and more importantly foot traffic from potential shoppers. This local favorite, owned by Wayne Conti, needs community support to survive and thrive into the future, so swing by, buy a book, and tell your friends.