|The sublimely charming Rizzoli bookstore in New York City.|
When I left for Florida last week, Rizzoli had told me that if I could guarantee 100 people would show up, they would give me a book signing in its gorgeous New York City flagship store. I contacted everyone I know and they contacted even more friends and colleagues. If only half of the people who said they would be there came out, we would have far surpassed the minimum must number I was given. You too responded by email and in comments to the post below that you would be there. You can perhaps imagine how excited I was.
But that was then and yesterday is now. The rumors that have been swirling in the press and social media since January have been confirmed. The “beloved Rizzoli bookstore” — the way most everyone referred to the former brownstone on West 57th street — will be demolished and the search is on for a new location.
Rizzoli is scheduling no more events.
Of course I’m disappointed because it seemed like a dream come true to be in that rarefied atmosphere, but much more than that I find it so sad that yet another safe haven for beautiful books in the atmosphere they deserve will, according to all the press reports, be replaced by yet another glass residential tower. Art is yet again at another crossroads with commerce and, to think, Rizzoli had so exquisitely combined the two.
|Inside the store.|
Unfortunately, the building that houses the charming 109-year-old bookstore did not meet the criteria for individual landmark status according to the city’s Landmarks Preservation Commission. Robert B. Tierney, chairman of the commission said the midtown property, “lacks the architectural significance necessary to meet the criteria for designation as an individual landmark.”
I have a particular affection for the store, apart from the obvious one most of us feel just walking through the doors into what always seemed a hallowed space where words and art were safe and celebrated. One of my very, very best friends was in the Rizzoli store talking to the manager while my agent and I were discussing where to send the proposal for my book. My friend sent a text to me that said: “Send your proposal to Rizzoli. The manager told me that readers love everything French and standing here I have a really, really good feeling about this.”
She was right, and the rest is a tiny part of my history with the extraordinary House of Rizzoli. I only wish it had had just one more chapter.