Strand Bookstore Celebrates 90 Years

From Book Row to Broadway, How Your Favorite Neighborhood Store Has Grown and Stayed the Same


Any trip to New York isn't complete without a trip to Union Square and New York City institution, Strand Bookstore. Over the years, Strand has been featured as a favorite by press by The New York Times, New Yorker, Gothamist, TimeOut New York and many more. Not only is it the largest indie bookstore in the city, it's also the largest family-run bookstore in the country, owned across three generations of the Bass Family.


From the 1890s to the 1960s, 48 bookstores lined 4th Avenue from Union Square to Astor Place, then known as "Book Row." Ben Bass opened the used bookstore at the age of 25. It was his son Fred's idea to move Strand to its current location at 828 Broadway from Book Row in 1957 - today's its the sole survivor of the historic shops. With its flagship based here in Union Square, you can now find Strand across the city with kiosks in Times Square and Central Park, inside Club Monaco on 5th Avenue, in SoHo at Artist & Fleas, and even quarterly in your mailbox with the Book HookUp subscription box.


Did You Know...

  • Fred Bass is turning 90, too!
  • While the slogan still reads "18 Miles of Books," the true count today is closer to 23 miles with 2.5 million books on its main floors, and in the Rare Book Room.
  • You can attend a literary event 7 nights a week ranging from talent like Doug the Pug, James Franco, Elizabeth Warren, Eddie Izzard and more. This month you can meet Wallace Shawn, enjoy a wine tasting, and celebrate the 50th Anniversary of Sgt. Pepper.
  • All of Strand's merchandise is designed in house by the staff!
  • On a budget? Find the perfect park read at the discount carts outside the strand.
  • You can find a full bookcase of staff recommendations complete with handwritten reviews on the first floor.
  • Read more of Strand's history here.

Here are three special ways you can celebrate with your favorite indie bookstore.

Top 90 Reads

The Strand 90 collection includes Strand's 90 favorite books in the store and has everything from 20th century American classics (Catch-22, The Great Gatsby), to children's favorites (The Little Prince, Where the Wild Things Are), to great works of fiction (Moby Dick, The Lord of the Rings). See if your favorite book made the list, and find your next good read. 

Pick Up a Celebratory Bookmark

In every book purchased, customers receive a classic Strand Bookstore bookmark. To celebrate the creative makeup of its customers and community, for its 90th year Strand hosted a bookmark competition, judged by famous designers Adam JK, Paula Scher and Sunra Thompson. Check out the winner, announced today!

Photo Archive Requests

Strand also wants you to share your memories and photos of the bookstore. If you're a New Yorker, a customer or a book lover, upload your photos to Strand.


Follow Strand on Instagram and Twitter for more updates about events and celebrations.