Pages with Patel, V: Left Bank Books

By Nishtha Patel

Via Recollection Books

If you love all things antique and unique, Left Bank Books (W 14th Street and 8th Avenue) is the perfect place to stop by. This used bookstore specializes in first editions and rare books. Walking in, one can see the back of the tiny store from the front but what it lacks in size, it makes up for in volume.

There are a variety of subjects from modernism and science to poetry and philosophy. Housing only some contemporary literature, Left Bank’s hallmark is their vast collection of art books and classics. Featuring anything from classic children’s literature to numerous volumes on the art of Velazquez, Left Bank Books displays a striking and specialized collection. This is a place not to come find the latest releases but, rather, to peruse through old tomes. Some of the books are even leather bound adorned with gold embossed lettering.

Toward the front of the store stands the glass cabinet where the coveted first editions and rare books are found. One can admire a first edition Lord of the Flies and Winnie the Pooh. It is remarkable to see a collection of rare books, as the acquisition of those is no easy feat.

Their impressive assortment keeps growing as people continue bringing things to sell to the store. Numerous people in the city unwittingly acquire rare books then happen to sell them to their local independent bookstores. So you never know what treasure is lurking in the shelves whether it is a series of mystery novels from the 60s or the first edition of The Beautiful and Damned by F. Scott Fitzgerald.

As one of the few antiquarian bookshops in the city, it is a bibliophile’s paradise to admire the rarities and scour the shelves for a new read. With floor to ceiling shelving and new procurements almost every day, there is certainly no lack of new things to see and discover at Left Bank Books.

Nishta Patel is a Highlighter Staff Columnist. Email her at


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