What a Shame…

by admin on October 6, 2011

What a Shame…

The closing of Border’s Bookstores, particularly the one housed in Madison Square Garden in Manhattan is a bit disconcerting to me. It was one of the first places that I remember frequenting when I arrived in New York City. In my homeless days, I would go upstairs to its café (Seattle’s Best) and read books off the shelves while catching up on some much needed sleep at times. The security in there knew me (I went almost every day for the first three months here) and would let me rest my weary body on one of their oversized leather chairs. I would watch people come and go, chatting about this and that while sipping their coffees and cappuccinos, marveling in awe at what the city had to offer, while smiling and laughing in agreement. Free internet service was provided for its patrons and the laptop junkies took full advantage of it, lining the tables with their Macs and PC’s, wires running into sockets, the tapping of keys blending in with the piped in music overhead and the chatter of the masses. As the future Pulitzer Prize winners and students tinkered about, the world continued to turn, sputtering and wheezing outside the gargantuan windows that the building provided.

It was all of two enormous levels; the first one had magazines, calendars, and the registers while the second one housed the DVD’s, music and children’s books, and the café. A short escalator ride was all that separated you from both levels. I would spend hours in there reading for free and meeting people from all walks of life. I used their bathroom to spruce myself up from the day before as showers are a luxury when you are homeless. Pink liquid soap, half a tree worth of paper towels and I was fresh again in a matter of minutes, drying myself and my half wet shirt under the porcelain hand dryers. I would walk out of the bathroom greeted by weird stares of curiosity as to why one person was in there so long. I only ignored them and went back to the magic of Border’s, reading everything from DIY books to music magazines to graphic novels.

But it just wasn’t that location that was closing. They are all closing; done in by the internet, the portable readers (Kindle, Nook), and the general lack of reading from the younger generations. The one in Columbus Circle, gone. The one on 18th Street, gone. All victims of poor sales and high rent. I will miss them, particularly the one in MSG. Now that I am somewhat grounded in life, I never got a chance to go up there to that café and use MY laptop and sip on espresso. I feel cheated, as if a friend of mine was killed before their time. May they go knowing that at least for this writer, their existence wasn’t in vain.

Scared to see what else is going to be closed next,

Gregory McCant

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Daniel Dickey 10.10.11 at 2:22 pm

Good blog dude. Well written.

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