If there’s one thing literary types enjoy more than reading books, it’s talking about them. The status of the traditional written word has become a hotly contested debate ever since the advent of e-books and tablets, which, for some, have turned hard-bound texts into little more than decorative ephemera.
For those that still hold steadfast to our papers and pens, McNally Jackson’s Goods for the Study store is an analog oasis in an increasingly digital sea. The shop, which is an off shoot of the McNally Jackson bookstore just around the corner on Prince Street, responds to all these hi-tech textual innovations by reminding us all of the value of merely putting paper to pen. You could say that Goods for the Study is one part practical shop for the city’s never-ending supply of wordsmiths, and one part museum to the written word itself. They layout is reminiscent of the sort of design store you’d expect to find in Tokyo, not on Mulberry Street, and the product range is a clear reflection of this meticulous approach.
On salvage desks which act as the shop’s display tables, you can peruse through a selection of goods that includes Japanese pencils, Postalco reporter’s pads, and U.S. made notebooks. Some of which are so well designed, you’ll question whether you’re supposed to use them, or hang them on your wall as art. The shop answers that question for you, as they’ve positioned actual wall hangings throughout the store in case your eyes happen to wander while contemplating various pencil widths. These lithographs and vintage posters allude to the stores deliberate message, imploring visitors to slow down and consider the finer things for a change. This idea continues in the various knickknacks that line the shop from antique school chairs, to crackled art books, to inexplicable cacti (which seem to be a requisite for any downtown shop these days.)
The store is all about spurring creativity, and whether you’re merely an occasional notetaker, or a dedicated daily scribe, you’ll surely find something at Goods for the Study that will bring out your inner Hemingway. Or at the very least, help you do your best Hemingway impression. —JG