The Rizzoli Bookstore was recently told that it would be forced to leave its grand space on 57th Street because the owners decided that the building would be demolished. The Bank Street Bookstore in Morningside Heights announced in December that it would not renew its lease when it expires in February , saying that it had lost money for the last decade.
Both stores are scrambling to find new locations. But now the chain stores are shutting down, too. Five Borders stores in Manhattan were closed in when the chain went bankrupt, vacating huge spaces on Park Avenue, near Penn Station and in the Shops at Columbus Circle. State data reveals that from to , the number of bookstores in Manhattan fell almost 30 percent, to stores from The closings have alarmed preservationists, publishers and authors, who said the fading away of bookstores amounted to a crisis that called for intervention from the newly minted mayor of New York City, Bill de Blasio, who has vowed to offer greater support to small businesses.
Whispers that publishers will re-enter the brick-and-mortar business — harking back to the days when the storied names Doubleday and Scribner graced bookstores on Fifth Avenue — have intensified in recent months. Despite the difficult conditions, some stores appear to be thriving. Posman Books, a small independent chain, opened a new outpost in Rockefeller Center in And just as many writers have fled to Brooklyn or Queens in search of more affordable housing, some bookstore owners have followed.
Greenlight Bookstore in Fort Greene opened in to robust business and year-over-year increases in sales. Onorati said she never looked seriously at Manhattan because the rents were so unaffordable. Is he really gone? Here are some of my memories.
There was no stopping him. But I sure remember Mike Avallone. Mike was so excited and hyper at this convention that he was practically out of control. Because he took being Guest of Honor seriously and was so pleased at the recognition from his friends and fellow collectors. He received a beautiful plaque showing four pulps and digests that he had appeared in with stories. Mike did actually have a few tales in the pulps before they disappeared. Every night he was up telling jokes, talking about movies and baseball, interacting with the other collectors.
One of my close friends, Harry Noble who was one of the great pulp collectors, had a habit of going to bed early at pm and getting up at am.
» COLLECTING PULPS: A MEMOIR, Part Five: Remembering MIKE AVALLONE.
He got up as usual at , saw Mike and a several collectors sitting around laughing and talking, and thought we were all getting up early like him. The truth was that we had not even gone to bed yet. Some people did not take to Mike at all. He seemed to have the ability to annoy or make some collectors angry. I was witness to this at the Bouchercon in Philadelphia in But they were really uptight and dignified and acted horrified at his friendly behavior. On the other hand, my wife and daughter loved Mike and his funny compliments. When it was time to eat dinner, we made the mistake of going into Bookbinders restaurant, which was too classy for people like us.
We sat down with the help of several waiters, saw the menu and prices, and immediately realized we had blundered. I was prepared to stay and pay the high price of the meal rather than leave, but not Mike. He stood up and led us out past the disapproving gaze of the waiters and other diners.
I felt like a fool lugging my two sack of books but Mike just laughed as usual, and we ate at a nearby pub. Many times Mike visited my house with other collectors and often stayed for dinner. But he liked my pulp and paperback collection even more. He loved looking at the painting and gave me a photo of the painting that he owned to The Tall Dolores , another Ed Noon novel.
For many years Al Tonik held meetings at his house which we called Tonikcons. There were around 20 or these, most of which Mike attended. We would eat and drink, meanwhile talking books and pulps.
I believe he appeared in When he would visit me he often headed to my paperback room which had a couple of stacks of Avallone paperbacks. The first couple times he pulled out his pen and offered to sign them all. One disaster was just barely avoided the night Mike walked out of the paperback room and almost took a header down the staircase.
He said that would be the way he would want to die if he had to go. But the thing he liked even more than the paperbacks, was my Spider pulp collection.
Lowcountry Bombshell (Hardcover)
He said it was his favorite magazine as a boy and he loved looking at the issues. In the late nineties he sold his house in New Brunswick, NJ and he moved to the west coast. His friends back east worried about him not having his support system of pals, and I guess we were right. He died soon after moving within a year or two in A Partial Bibliography. Holt [Ed Noon]. Gold Medal [Ed Noon]. The Thousand Coffins Affair n.
Signet [April Dancer; Girl from U. Signet [Ed Noon]. He often said he would rather write than sleep or eat. The evidence seems to bear him out.
He wrote so many books, under so many pseudonyms, that even apparent misspellings like Mike Avalione and Michael Avalone soon became pen names. He wrote at least sixty-two novels and novelizations under his own name, many with series characters, such as April Dancer , Ed Noon and Satan Sleuth , at least three novels as Nick Carter with Valerie Moolman , two novels as Sidney Stuart, three gothics as Priscilla Dalton, twelve gothic novels as Edwina Noone, five gothic novels as Dorothea Nile, five gothic novels as Jean-Anne de Pre, four novels as Vance Stanton, at least twenty erotic novels as Troy Conway, featuring a horny super spy named Rod Damon , aka "Capitalism's favorite tool," nine "men's adventure" novels as Stuart Jason all with series character "The Butcher" , at least three collections of short stories, and at least thirty novels and novelizations unrelated to the above series.
The guy just loved to write. According to his son, David, the "more-or-less the high watermark of Dad's career" was making the cover of the cover of Writer's Digest in January pictured above. He once allegedly completed a novel in a day and a half. One story goes that he wrote a 1,word short story in 20 minutes, while dining in a New York restaurant. One year, he supposedly churned out 27 books. Avallone was a tireless committee volunteer for the MWA, serving on the Board of Directors, as well as editing the newsletter.
He was also the chairman of its awards, television and motion picture committees. And he was always quick with a quip. He was also legendary for being quick to take offense and quick to lash out, and for his high opinion of himself. An original; a seemingly tireless -- some say relentless -- letter-writer and self-promoter, his own biggest fan, a romping stomping ornery cuss, often charging off in two or three directions at once, at times bitter and spiteful, prickly, opinionated, pounding out white hot attacks on anyone he felt had failed to acknowledge their debt and pay their proper respects to him never mind that some of these writers never READ him or in some other way slighted him.
He was especially venomous towards more successful writers, notably, supposedly, Stephen King who, Avallone exclaimed at every chance, based every thing he ever wrote on a Robert Bloch novel. Most of his "ornery cussedness" had a pretty simple intention; to piss people off and get attention.
Once when I was a child and we were in London, he calmly threw into an interview that he thought Arthur Conan-Doyle must have known exactly who Jack the Ripper was My point being one that seems to be lost on a lot of folks I don't think Dad particularly believed King plagarized him any more than he believed Conan-Doyle knew the Ripper.
He just got a huge kick out of the reaction it caused when he said it.
Certainly, Avallone had a high opinion of his own work.