One of New York’s oldest bookstores, STRAND, now carries the Silver Edition of Vanishing Cuba. It’s wonderful to be included in the stores’ over 2.5 million new, used, and rare books.
The Strand was born in 1927 on Fourth Avenue on what was called “Book Row.” Book Row covered six city blocks and housed forty-eight bookstores. Ben Bass, the father, was all twenty-five years old when he began his modest used bookstore. An entrepreneur at heart and a reader by nature, this erudite man began with $300 of his own and $300 that he borrowed from a friend. Ben sought to create a place where books would be loved and book lovers could congregate. He named his bookstore after the London street where avant-garde writers like Thackeray, Dickens and Mill once gathered, and interesting book publishers thrived. The Strand quickly became a Greenwich Village institution where writers went to converse, sell their books and find a hidden treasures to buy. Today, the Strand is the sole survivor of Book Row’s colorful past.
Ben’s son, Fred, was learning the family business by age 13. He, too, a lover of books, quickly took to the book trade. After Fred completed a tour of duty in the Armed Forces, he came home to New York, where he worked side-by-side with his father. By 1957, Fred moved the store just around the corner to our current space at 12th Street and Broadway. Fred came to spend most of his time at the buying desk, cultivating relationships with regulars and scoping out the next great find.
The next in the Bass family to take to the business was Fred’s daughter, Nancy. After college and a short stint in Louisiana, she returned to her roots and joined the Strand team at 25. Today, she manages the store and is honored to carry her family’s 90-year legacy forward. The jury’s still out on whether one, two, or all three of Nancy’s kids will be next in line to join the Strand team.
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