THE GRIND 6/30: Housing Works Bookstore and Cafe
Reviewed By Emma Holter
126 Crosby Street (between Houston and Prince Street)
If you’ve lived in New York for a while, you’ve probably come across the Housing Works thrift stores scattered throughout Manhattan. Housing Works is a non-profit that does incredible work within the New York community, and the majority of the proceeds from all their stores goes to ending the dual crises of HIV/AIDS and homelessness by providing housing, health care, and job training. The Housing Works Bookstore and & Cafe on Crosby Street in SoHo is the organization’s largest venue in the city, and is, in my opinion, one of the best independent bookstores in New York. Honestly, what is better for a bibliophile with a caffeine addiction than perusing shelves full of second-hand (or gently used) books with a cup of coffee in your hand, AND knowing that your money is going to a worthwhile cause?
The bookstore is a very sleepy cafe before 9AM. When I stopped in this past week less than ten people were scattered around the tables sipping their coffee, and easing into the day. If you’re tired of waiting in line at a SoHo Starbucks with a crowd of the fashionably-dressed designer boutique workers impatiently typing into their iPhones, I would highly recommend stopping by Housing Works for a change of pace. The cafe takes up the back half of the bookstore, with tables scattered throughout the space. There are strings of lights draped from the mezzanine bookshelves that they turn on closer to the evening. The coffee is really strong, tasty, and won’t leave you needing a second cup later in the day.
My ideal visit to Housing Works Bookstore & Cafe involves pouring through their stacks, buying a new novel, and sitting down at one of their scrub wooden tables to read the first few chapters over a foamy latté. It’s a cafe that you can go to at any time of day, and find people chatting, reading, and writing over coffee.
Also, be sure to check out their calendar of literary and cultural events throughout the year!
Keep an eye out for more coffee recommendations to come!