A third life for Three Lives? There better be

Anyone who’s ever lived in Greenwich Village knows Three Lives & Company bookstore on the corner of Waverly and 10th Street. Somewhat more important, anyone who’s ever lived in Greenwich Village can find the corner of Waverly and 10th. (It’s one and one-half very short blocks from the corner of Waverly and Waverly.)

Three Lives has been my bookstore forever. (I never order from Amazon, although I will occasionally pick up something from Barnes & Noble.) Whenever I want a specific book, I go to Three Lives. All my hardcover Jane Austens came via Three Lives. When my niece Liana wanted to get Thomas Piketty’s Capital for her boyfriend, right at the peak of its sales and when nobody had a copy, she got it from Three Lives.

Sidebar: Three Lives’ space was once an Italian deli which we all called Tony’s, although that wasn’t its name: Tony was the guy who made the huge, terrific sandwiches piled up with everything which we all bought there. As in, “Hey, why don’t I go over to Tony’s and get sandwiches for dinner?”

We all mourned (and lost weight) when Tony’s closed but eventually cheered up when Three Lives–which apparently lived somewhere else previously–moved in. Great sandwiches and books: what could be more important in life.

Today, in Publisher’s Lunch:

In other bookstore news, Three Lives & Company may be forced to move after more than 33 years after its building was put up for sale. In a letter to customers, owner Toby Cox wrote: “Ideally, we would like to stay in our space, our address for thirty-three years, when a new owner for the building is found. 154 West Tenth Street has been a wonderful home for all of us, staff and customers alike, for all these many years…Should a lease not be offered to Three Lives then we will look for a new space to build our home. The shop has moved once since it originally opened on the corner of West Tenth and Seventh Avenue, and there’s always the possibility for a third life for Three Lives. It is our desire to stay in our neighborhood, the West Village, but we will need to find the right space at the right price, not an easy task considering the current commercial rental conditions in the area.”

Cox also noted that Three Lives is a “thriving enterprise” and the story has “had record years the last three years as the independent bookstore market in general has found its footing despite many challenges. A bookshop with an interesting selection of books and staffed by passionate, professional booksellers has a place in the book world.” In the meantime it remains “business as usual.”

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