The NY Times recently reviewed a new book by Travis McDade, the curator of rare books at the University of Illinois College of Law. Thieves of Book Row: New York's Most Notorious Rare Book Ring and the Man Who Stopped It tells the true story of a rare book crime ring centered around Manhattan's Book Row in the 1920s and 1930s. Sounds like a perfect summer read!
Book Row was established as early as 1890 on Fourth Avenue, a short avenue right below Union Square. It ran for six city blocks and had forty-eight bookstores. Sadly, Book Row is no more but one famous bookstore remains: ABAA firm Strand Book Store, which opened in 1927. If you've ever visited this NYC establishment, you know that their famous "18 Miles of Books" slogan is easy to believe. If you haven't been there, make the trip next time you are in the neighborhood.
Here's a link to Hymn to Fourth Avenue, a poem by Eli Siegel that celebrates Book Row.