We’ve barely had a moment to ourselves since the grand opening of Word Up, the pop-up community bookshop in Washington Heights, NYC. We’re getting new stock every day—including unique products that were made especially for Word Up—and the place is full of neighbours and the best kind of energy found when a lot of people come together and volunteer to build something they’ve never had before: a bookstore in their own neighbourhood.

Word Up has been a gathering place for the community. This shot is so exemplary that it looks like it was staged, but it was not!

Over the past three weeks we’ve hosted readings by zinesters, novelists, comic book artists, performance artists, travel writers, poets—both famous and first-time, English and Spanish, teen and adult; live music—free improv, hip-hop, Latin jazz, poetry/performance; informative publishing Q&As; children’s story hours; knitting and crafting circles; women’s self-defense clinics; lit journal showcases; and even a solo play about community organic farming performed from the point of view of the soil!

Will MacAdams shares his work on organic farming and community artmaking to an attentive crowd on Sunday afternoon. Best growing-veggie hat ever.

The New York Times swung by the grand opening, the NY Daily News was here last week (print only), and thanks to the Manhattan Times, the Uptown Collective, and others—including CUNY TV during a segment airing near the end of August—you can peek inside without trekking uptown. But why wouldn’t you visit?

Most visitors have expressed the wish to have the bookshop stay in the space longer, and have asked—very insistently!—what they could do to make that happen.

Nisha (l.) is going to write a book she can one day share with other kids at the shop, and Hillary (r.) found books she had been looking for in the Free/Exchange pile by the door.

A lot of what you can do is just that: ask, insist, make your opinions known in any way you can to as many people as you can. Get the word out about Word Up. 

Making latent thoughts known played a big part in pushing this community bookshop into existence. And now, as of last night, we have this tidbit of news to share:

We can stay through the end of September!

Your voices, talking, asking, participating, coaxing, have helped make this happen. The overwhelming support you have shown for Word Up, as well as fervent discussions between Vantage Residential’s Raquel Batista and Northern Manhattan Arts Alliance’s Sandra Garcia Betancourt, will allow the shop to continue for a little bit longer, because the community wants it, and the community needs it.

Todd Mintz wants a bookstore in our neighbourhood to exist when little Isaac is old enough to read.

And beyond September? We shall see. First things first. . . .

Now that we aren’t moving out this Thursday, July 14, we need more help to sustain this space over the longer term. If you are able to donate or lend any of the following, please get in touch:

—Air conditioning repair services
—Construction/wall/ceiling repair services
—PC computer & monitor
—Toilet paper & paper towels
—Fans (while waiting for A/C repair)
—Lights/lamps & bulbs
—Heavy-duty extension cords
—Music stand
—VOLUNTEERS of all kinds—especially daily staffers and someone who could assist Seven Stories Institute with book receiving and accounting

Please email info@wordupbooks.com with your desires and skills!

And finally, continue to USE the space that is Word Up. It is yours, so engage with it. Word Up is at 4157 Broadway, at 176 Street. The closest subway is the A train to 175 Street. Shop hours are 4-9pm weekdays, 12-4pm weekends.* And get in touch if you want to volunteer, consign books, host an event, or join the Word Up mailing list.

*Because we thought we might be closing up shop for good this coming Thursday, we are PACKED with events this weekend, with FOUR EVENTS PER DAY. Shop hours will be extended on Saturday, July 9, from 12pm to 6pm, and on Sunday, July 10, from 12pm to 8pm. More info about those events in a subsequent post.


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