Goodbye Heights Books, and thanks!

February 27, 2009

For nearly two decades, Heights Books was a fixture in Brooklyn Heights.

The used bookstore, which often displayed carts filled with bargain-priced books on the sidewalk, was the last remaining bookseller on busy Montague Street — the street that inspired Christopher Morley’s 1919 novel, The Haunted Bookshop, which begins, “If you are ever in Brooklyn, that borough of superb sunsets and magnificent vistas of husband-propelled baby-carriages, it is to be hoped you may chance upon a quiet by-street where there is a very remarkable bookshop.”

Recently, when the building in which it was located was sold, Heights Books’ owners decided to close up and move to another part of the borough. Rather than pack their entire stock, move and reshelve it all at the new location, they chose to sort out the books that had lingered far too long in the store’s inventory and throw them away.

Today, a crew of workman tossed thousands of volumes into a dumpster outside the shop. When passersby spotted cartons full of books being hurled into the trash, they scrambled to rescue as many as they could grab. They jumped atop the piles of books, their efforts intensifying as darkness and rain began to fall. One fellow remarked, “I’ve heard the expression dumpster diving, but this is the first time I’ve seen people literally diving into a dumpster!”

IMG_4530
The dumpster on the street

IMG_4532
Inside the store, the shelves are gone

IMG_4531
Passersby grabbed books before they were tossed in the dumpster

IMG_4536
Younger readers stood on boxes to better see into the dumpster

IMG_4544
Older readers remained on the sidewalk

IMG_4537
Some climbed atop the pile

IMG_4545
Few could resist peeking into the dumpster

IMG_4546
Some books were rescued

IMG_4539
A last grab as the rain starts to fall

IMG_4538
Books heading for the landfill

Page by Page Books: The Haunted Bookshop
Heights Books
New York Magazine: Heights Books
The Brooklyn Paper: Book ‘em! Heights Books to move to Cobble Hill
The Brooklyn Paper: Book ‘em! Heights store will not close, says owner


%d bloggers like this: