McNally Jackson bookstore opens on South Street Seaport


Barbara Rucci

University students now have a new literary haven just around the corner from campus: the new McNally Jackson Books located on the South Street Seaport at 4 Fulton St. The two-story independent bookstore officially opened its doors on Aug. 28, just before Labor Day weekend. Not only will this McNally Jackson be the home to more than 60,000 books, but it will also be the host of its very own cafe and, for University students over the age of 21, a wine bar.

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The wine and coffee bar | Kelsey Nicholson

The original McNally Jackson has been standing strong for 15 years at 52 Prince St. in SoHo. While the Seaport location has been in the works for years, the news of McNally Jackson opening up at Seaport may have come as a surprise to many. The SoHo spot was expected to move by June 2019, according to Publishers Weekly. “McNally Jackson is moving at the end of June,” McNally began, “I will be able to make a formal announcement on our new location soon, but I can promise it will be nearby.” The McNally Jackson in Williamsburg had just opened the year prior.

However, these plans of moving changed rather quickly. It was confirmed in February 2019 by the Bowery Boogie that McNally Jackson in SoHo would not be moving after all. Instead, they would remain on Prince Street and the independent booksellers would continue to expand their shops. The landlord of 52 Prince St. made a deal with McNally to make the cost of rent more affordable with “gradual increases over the next five years,” according to Vulture.

McNally Jackson posted a series of photos on Instagram of the Seaport location giving updates on its progress. “Our Seaport store is soft-opened,” reads a post from Aug. 28. “But much of the store is ready for you now…Please please come!” The store is in the heart of the ever-bustling Seaport, with views of the East River adding to the charming and rustic aesthetic of the store.

McNally Jackson is known for its wide selection of international books. What is more impressive is how each of the books is specifically placed, highlighting the titles and writers from different parts of the globe. “We have always prioritized our mission to be a hub of global literary culture, with 14,000 books in our literate section alone, divided by geography,” McNally tells Publishers Weekly when the news of the Prince Street location moving was announced. “I don’t know a better retail source for international literature, anywhere in the world.”

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The upstairs section | Kelsey Nicholson

Fast forward to August 2019, where the Prince Street store is still standing its ground after 15 years, the Williamsburg spot is flourishing after opening up two years ago, and the new South Street Seaport location is at its beginning stages. On top of this, there are plans to open a City Point store in downtown Brooklyn. “If you had told me when I opened my first store, when I was 29, that I would eventually open four, I would have said no way,” McNally told Vulture in a February 2019 interview.

University students should not be surprised when they notice more people walking around with bags full of books. The South Street Seaport now possesses a new literary edge which may attract more readers than usual into town. Whether they need a new place to study, want to grab a coffee, or simply need to roam the bookshelves, University students will not want to miss out on this new location. While McNally Jackson finalizes their last touches to the store, customers are officially welcomed in to check out the drink menu, grab a bite from the cafe, and get lost in the shelves.