My New York City go-to for reading material had always been Rizzoli. Until it closed in 2014, this grand bookshop set in a former piano showroom on West 57th Street was a peaceful escape from the bustle of midtown Manhattan, filled floor to ceiling with everything from art tomes and the latest fiction to a robust music selection, letterpress cards, gifts and wrapping paper. Indeed, its range of European magazines alone was worth the trip.
My old favourite has now risen again, 30 blocks south, in the burgeoning NoMad neighbourhood. On my visit last month I was dazzled by the sheer enormity of the project, set behind an enormous, sleek glass façade. Ike Kligerman Barkely Architects has overseen a painstaking renovation of the late-19th-century Beaux Arts building, combining pieces from the old store – cherrywood bookcases, brass and iron light fixtures – with graphic black and white flooring, dramatic skylights and an expansive windowed salon. A custom-made mural by Fornasetti, featuring butterflies on collaged newspaper pages throughout the 5,000sq ft space, further enhances the magical environment.
The titles themselves are still heavy on art and fashion, housed enticingly among cookbooks and biographies, rare and limited editions. I leafed leisurely through a Gagosian/Rizzoli monograph about artist Jenny Saville’s Oxyrhynchus series ($100) and High Art: Public Life on the High Line ($45), about the city’s elevated park, but settled on Mastering Golf’s Mental Game ($25) as a gift for my husband. And I’m pleased to report that the reinvented Rizzoli still has the best selection of magazines in town.