A Historic Look at Topos Bookstore

I kind of love how buildings in Ridgewood take on a chameleon-like existence. The storefronts can be a butcher shop in the 30’s and then the storefront can disappear in the 70’s, then become a bodega, and then become something totally different now. Through history, the neighborhood is aways changing for better or for worse, but the architecture still stands. Topos Bookstore’s bulding is a great example of the documentation in Ridgewood, Queens and most of New York City.

From the NYC Department of Records:

“Between 1939 and 1941, and again in the mid-1980s, the city photographed every house and building in the five boroughs. During the 1930s, local governments began to use photography as a tool for appraising real property for taxation purposes. New York City was the largest municipality to adopt this technology. The result was 720,000 35mm black-and-white pictures of every building in the five boroughs.

By the early 1980s, the City’s Department of Finance, the agency responsible for appraising property for real estate tax purposes, determined that the 1940s photographs needed to be updated. From 1983 to 1988, again using 35mm cameras, their staff fanned out in the five Boroughs photographing every property, including vacant lots and tax-exempt buildings. They used color film stock resulting in over 800,000 photographs in both print and negative formats. “

Photographic prints of these unique images are now available for purchase on their site!

Google Street View taken on September 2014

Last two photographs taken on January 14, 2016, from Project Latte, a web guide to NYC cafe culture.

Topos Bookstore was created by the 1882 Woodbine crew and a few others. The original tin ceiling is painted a sea-foam green and some of my favorite books are just in arms reach (See pictures). Also, the lighting is great and it seems like a perfect place to have a book club.

Do you want to just relax and bring your own book? No problem! They have places to sit as well as espresso. Do you have books to donate? Bring those novels! They may take them.

Topos Bookstore
788 Woodward Ave, Ridgewood, NY 11385

Photos from their grand opening party:

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