The Secret Speakeasy Manhattan Bookshop


24th Jul, 2013

Scroll down to find an update on this story.


Michael Seidenberg once ran a non-secret bookstore in Brooklyn. When he couldn’t afford to pay rent anymore, he moved Brazenhead Books into his three-room apartment on the second floor in upper East Manhattan. It’s been going for eight years.


Images by Jenna Scherer

As you can imagine, selling second-hand books in secret doesn’t exactly turn a huge profit, but Michael doesn’t sell books for the money. If it’s all about the money, “just sell crack,” says the pipe-smoking bookseller,”That’s a much better business.”

Meet Michael, he’s just as interesting as his secret bookshop…

As well as selling some beautiful old books, Michael hosts weekly salons, where regulars and new visitors alike can hang out until the early hours of the morning, talking, leafing through books, listening to music and drinking whiskey.

As for the address? Well you can look Michael up in the phonebook. If you have one.

UPDATE: Brazenhead Books is Losing its Lease & Looking for a new Secret Spot

In July, Brazenhead will vacate the premises, having lost its long-term lease.

“A guy offered me a space in this bizarre mansion on Sundays but then I’d have to move my stuff in and out, which is too much work… I am listening to every single offer because I don’t know what I want, but I know what I don’t want. I’m very picky.”

Check out the full interview with Michael Seidenberg about the future of his speakeasy bookshop on The Gothamist.

You can find updates about the salon and Brazenhead Books on Michael’s Facebook page.


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