Windsor Terrace bookworms bemoaning the loss of a beloved old-school tome shop will soon be able to celebrate a new chapter in the neighborhood’s literary tradition.
The owners of Park Slope’s Community Bookstore will continue the legacy of the former Babbo’s Books on Prospect Park West by opening the new Terrace Books in Babbo’s storefront between Prospect Avenue and Windsor Place later this month.
Babbo’s closed on May 15 after six years in Windsor Terrace, and the new owners say the neighborhood still needs a place for readers to get their fix of ink on paper.
“We think [independently-owned] bookstores are crucial to neighborhoods,” said Ezra Goldstein, who co-owns the Community Bookstore with Stephanie Valdez.
The new Terrace Books will sell mostly used books, as Babbo’s did, while the Community Bookstore will continue to hawk new items. Given that they cater to two distinct needs, the two locations will have a symbiotic relationship — buyers can order books from one shop and have them delivered to the other.
Babbo’s owner Leonora Stein said she approached Goldstein and Valdez about expanding into Windsor Terrace shortly after she decided to close the store. The Community Bookstore hadn’t been planning to expand, but claimed this opportunity was too good to pass up.
And Stein said she’s glad they were willing to take over.
“It was very important to me that it would stay a bookstore,” said Stein.
Valdez and Goldstein also believe independent bookstores serve an important role in any community. They claim that books and information are quintessential parts of the vibrancy of any neighborhood. Not only can independents choose books specifically for a neighborhood, but they can be involved in community affairs. They can also create a real sense of personal interaction, by acting as a gathering space or cornerstone of the community, making the niche independents fill more than skin deep.
“We don’t treat books like a commodity,” said Goldstein. “We treat them like precious objects.”
Valdez and Goldstein decided to change the store’s name because they felt Babbo’s, which was named after Stein’s father, was too personal. They originally planned to give it the same name as their Park Slope location, but instead decided on a name that is representative of the neighborhood.
“It had the right ring to it,” Valdez said of Terrace Books. “And it had the community feel that we were going for.”