Monday, December 1, 2008

Librairie de France

Some people think New Yorkers are rude, abrupt and unfriendly. NOT! We took a 4-day trip to New York City and, as usual, we found New Yorkers to be some of the friendliest and most helpful people we've ever met in our travels. We have learned the hard way to never open up a map on the subway unless we want to have at least 5 totally unsolicited different opinions of the best way to get there from here. Of course Susan will talk to anyone, in fact I think she'd probably start up a conversation with a corpse: "Hey, how's it going? Been here long?"

A very special shop in New York City is Librairie de France at Rockefeller Center. Susan's stepfather was a World War II Normandy Beach veteran who fell in love with France and Paris and passed that interest on to her. So we've always stopped by just to browse.

This time when we wandered into the basement we met Emanuel Molho who let us take pictures of that area of the shop and of his office. While we were talking to him he stopped to take a phone call: "I'm quite sure I have one, let me check." Sure enough, he had an English-Zulu dictionary in stock! I didn't even know people spoke Zulu. Zuluese?

One thing Susan was particularily interested in was the French books that had uncut pages. Her bookbinding instructor had talked about how books used to be printed and pages had to be cut apart with a knife so she thought that was pretty special. But, according to Emanuel, not a big deal for older books printed in France.

Susan and Emanuel had a long conversation about the fate of his store, which is not good: After over 72 years at Rockefeller Center they are having to close in just a few months. Beautiful French books on sale? Foreign language books at sale prices? French children's books? Stop by and go in. At first it will look like a small shop with a few books but look for the stairs to the basement -- that is where you want to go and where we took these pictures. This store is a treasure and it will be a shame to see it replaced by some useless chain store.

1 comment:

Robyn said...

Those shelves look very enticing!
I speak a smattering of zulu. Spending a lot of time on a farm as a kid with piccanin friends gave me many opportunities to speak it.