I’ve just read this great Wikipedia article on The Gotham Book Mart, a bookstore that operated at various locations in midtown Manhattan between 1920 to 2007. In summary: Gotham was more than just a bookshop, it served as a sort of literary salon hosting readings, signings, art exhibits, book discussions and the James Joyce Society. Founded at/by the Gotham in 1947, its first member was T.S. Eliot.
Known for the sign above its door which read, “Wise Men Fish Here” (designed by John Held, Jr.) the store specialized in poetry, literature, books about theater, film, art, music and dance: new, out-of-print and rare.
The history of the store is told in the documentary film, Frances Steloff: Memoirs of a Bookseller (1987), directed by Deborah Dickson.
In 2008, the University of Pennsylvania received some 200,000 items from the Gotham Book Mart’s inventory as an anonymous gift. Penn is cataloging and digitizing it, and has plans to produce lectures and exhibits based on its contents
Check out where today’s used bookstores are in New York, click here to see Literary Tourist’s New York listings map.