1133 Broadway, New York, NY
Even after relocating from their 57th Street home to this new store in the NoMad neighborhood, just a short walk from Madison Square Park, Rizzoli’s claim to be the “most beautiful bookstore in New York” may not be far off the mark. With large floor tiles, towering columns, and expansive shelf space, Rizzoli Bookstore certainly caters to the more chic and stylish readers on Manhattan Island. Still, I found there’s plenty there for the more humble reader, like yours truly.
As with any shop selling new titles, there’s a healthy array of modern bestsellers and updated editions of classic literature, plus an interesting array of niche titles I hadn’t seen anywhere else, such as the small writing advice book called Fucking Apostrophes, offering grammatical and punctuation guidance to those without virgin ears—or eyes, to be exact.
But don’t let the mainstream fiction and quaint offerings disguise the true heart of this shop—big, glossy tomes on fashion, photography, architecture, interior design, furniture, art, travel, and European literature. There were multiple titles examining Vogue covers and photoshoots, and oversized coffee table books about Hollywood elite like Grace Kelly or modern models like Gisele Bundchen. They had the largest selection of fashion titles I’ve seen anywhere. The other nonfiction sections were equally lustrous and expensive, and even their magazines skewed toward trendy European titles I hadn’t heard of before. It was an interesting experience, like getting an accidental upgrade from economy class to first, just in a bookstore instead of an airplane.
I didn’t buy anything on this visit (although Fucking Apostrophies was calling my name) but I can see myself visiting again, just for the browsing experience or maybe to grab a fancy title for one of my more upscale Manhattanite friends. If you go, bring your credit card because there weren’t many discount titles, but you may find a one-of-a-kind coffee table book sure to impress the jet-setting friends I know you all have.
Atmosphere — Fashionable and clean, with big open spaces and tall ceilings, walls full of books and rooms of big glossy fashion and European titles, plus your typical fiction offerings.
Quality — On the upscale side, heavy, expensive, and beautiful books.
Quantity — Plenty of fashion, photography, architecture, and European titles, plus a fair amount of typical fiction fare.
Diversity — Definitely leaned more toward oversized niche titles, but between the sections already mentioned and the fiction and bestsellers, there’s a decent enough array of subjects to keep anyone busy for a while.
Affordability — You’re going to be paying a lot for the fancy titles (the Grace Kelly coffee table book was $75) but there are more affordable titles spread around too. Not much in the discount section, just a few things on a small table.
Amenities — There were a couple chairs in the back and some gift sections, otherwise you’re there to shop. But there are restaurants and bars nearby.
Location — A short walk from Madison Square Park (not Garden, mind you) with a few subway stops just minutes away.
Customer Service — The staff manned the registers up front and we didn’t interact, so other than being present I can’t say much about them.
Overall — This isn’t where you’re going to want to go to grab affordable half-off titles or scour for hard-to-find paperbacks, but if your interests trend toward the glamorous and international, this is the shop for you. It’s an attractive shop with plenty to browse through, and I’d go back, but be prepared to pay for the big beautiful titles.