Real Estate

Iconic bookstore priced out of Greenwich Village after 30 years

Bargin books just don’t pay Greenwich Village rents.

Lefty neighborhood institution, Unoppressive Non-Imperialist Bargain Books, will close its doors on its 34 Carmine St. storefront this month following a rent hike. The shop is set to be cleared out by the end of June, Patch first reported

In its three decades in the neighborhood, the tome retailer has become a local landmark for its weathered awning and surprising selection of specialty titles. In 2016, it served as one of then-presidential candidate Bernie Sanders’ four Manhattan headquarters. In 2011, it housed the Occupy Wall Street library.

Although the shop’s longtime proprietor Jim Drougas has admitted defeat, he remains buoyed by the possibility of reopening elsewhere. 

unoppressive books closing greenwich village
The weathered storefront had become a neighborhood landmark over the decades.
Instagram / Michelle Smith
unoppressive books closing greenwich village
A cat peruses the stacks.
Instagram / Michelle Smith
unoppressive books closing greenwich village
The bookstore opened on Carmine Street 30 years ago.
Instagram / @eumireads
unoppressive books closing greenwich village
The shop was known for its specialty titles.
Instagram / @readskristi
unoppressive books closing greenwich village
The proprietor is hopeful they can find the shop a new home.
Unoppressive Non-Imperialist Bargain Books

“I’ve been having fun all of these years, I’m not despondent,” Drougas told Patch. “I’m actually kind of hopeful something is going to turn up, we’ve had a big impact and a lot of people have been very supportive.”

“Even if we have to close, for now, I’m pretty determined to keep it going somewhere, somehow,” he added.

Staying in Greenwich Village, or at least Lower Manhattan, however, remains the goal. 

“We were in this situation and made it out only through our amazing community support! We can do this NYC — don’t give up,” the activist bookshop Bluestockings commented encouragingly on an emotional post about the closure by the Vanishing New York Instagram account.

“The last bastion can’t go down!” wrote another.

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