A smart bookstore just north of Union Square recently became my new go-to spot for all things travel- and literature-related. From the street, the only hint is a huge illuminated globe in Idlewild Bookstore's window, but walk up the stairs and you'll find a selection that caters to exactly what us travelers want.
David Del Vecchio opened Idlewild over the summer, and word's definitely spreading around Manhattan. A former United Nations press officer, David named his shop after the original name for New York International Airport, which, in 1963, was renamed JFK.
The genius behind Idlewild is its shelving system: books are organized by destination, so it's like a one-stop shop for your next trip. The store sells more than 5,000 books covering more than 150 countries.
Let's say you're headed to Paris. On the France shelves, you'll find everything from the big-name guidebooks to lesser-known guides that chain bookstores don't even stock. Guidebooks share shelf space with novels, non-fiction, and maps. They've got titles cover everything you'd ever wanted to learn about the City of Light: books on the best brasseries, patisseries, markets, the best quiet corners of Paris. Then there's Ernest Hemingway and Julia Childs next to Eloise in Paris.
The same applies to anyplace you're thinking of visiting—they've got sections for all 7 continents.
The wanderlust-inspiring shop has something for everyone. If you're a New Yorker, drop in, take a seat, and fantasize (or start planning) your next trip.
Just visiting the city? Check out the extensive New York shelves, with everything from Not For Tourist books on all five boroughs to guides to the Hamptons. Idlewild's also got international cookbooks, globes, maps, bags, inflatable neck pillows…. My only immediate travel plans are to head home for the holidays. I sure didn't need a guidebook, but today I picked up a neoprene iPod sleeve with super-cute Sukie graphics.
The best part: Everything in the store goes on sale this Sunday (11/23). For one day only, you'll get 20 percent off books and 40 percent off travel accessories. You heard it from BT first.
Idlewild Books, 12 West 19th St., New York, 212/414-8888, idlewildbooks.com