Soho Books is officially closed.

I should have known this was coming... neat little stores like that have so small a chance of surviving... It was a small, unassuming store; mostly remainders... the staff was friendly and somehow knew where every book was, even in the massive jumble of books on every shelf. It was pleasantly low-tech; the staff would write the title of your purchase by hand in one of those black patterned composition notepads like the ones from school.

I would walk past it every day on the way to or from work. Out on the corrugated metal steps were a bunch of random books, divided by price: 1.98, 2.98, and 4.98. I would always stop to look, and i'd usually end up with something nifty.

After a while, it became more of a comfort, one of those things that would always be there. I tried not to take it for granted; i made sure to always at least look at the selection. But all too often, i'd say "i'll get it later". I'd occasionally miss an item, but i could usually find something else to pique my interest.

But now, there is no later.

There was a fire on Wooster Street in early January. It closed the stores on either side (both, incidentally, clothing stores), but Soho Books remained open.

In mid-March, the door was closed, and the store was empty. There was a sign on the door of the store next door
which has a snappy rhythm, doesn't it?
saying that it would reopen soon. The flag still flew over the clothing store, and the words "Soho Books" remained painted in the otherwise empty window of the bookstore.

In mid-April, the painted words had been scraped off.

Today, the windows were papered over and a sign proudly announced that the property had been rented by one of the local realtors.

I don't know what will become of that store. It's in a distressingly trendy area, so i fear it will be something upscale and pretentious that will make me shudder every time i pass.

But what bothers me the most is how sudden it was.. i was in the store two days before it closed and there was no indication of its ever leaving; no fire sale, no "everything must go", just the usual chatter with the staff.

And now it's gone, and now there's nothing to replace it. There's nothing even in the area.

Life, again, seems less bright.

Note: This is not Soho Discount Books. That is further downtown, and AFAIK still open.