between worlds

For being so close to New York City, Nyack feels worlds apart

worlds upon worlds

We heard the slide before we saw it—the continued swish of paper, one right after the other, and then the heavy thunk! of items landing. The man responsible (though barely) stood in the middle of the aisle, his face grimacing apologetically as he tried to catch the books. Most of it was to no avail, however, and the books continued to pile up around him. 

“Just leave them! I’ll put them back!” the store clerk exclaimed. 

Customers (my boyfriend and I among them) gingerly avoided the middle aisle where the slide had occurred. The store clerk stood alone, muttering titles under his breath as he read the books spines and re-shelved them in an orderly fashion. 

Well, as orderly as one could be in Pickwick Books. 

At first glance, books are separated by genre, if a little haphazardly, emphasis on the latter. But they’re everywhere—stacks on the floor rise in between the shelves, and then stacked on top of those again, like some new game of reading Jenga. 

And while the bookstore almost falls into the category of my least favorite type of used bookstore (supposedly rare, but more often than not just antiquated novels and paperbacks that are dull and overpriced), the organized disorder keeps things fresh. (The appropriate price tags do too). 

I scanned bookshelves horizontally, then scan stacks vertically, discovering several treasures. My boyfriend found a perfect desk calendar and some new-to-him non-fiction, while I browsed modern fiction, cookbooks (20% off) and some older, but still likely useful books on gardening. 

To access the gardening and botany books, I’d ducked into a hallway that felt more like entering a secret passage. In general, Pickwick Books feels like one is wandering through tunnels of books, but the narrow hallway, filled floor to ceiling with bookshelves, made me certain I’d disappeared into another world. 

(Which is a useful metaphor for reading, after all).

Reappearing at the other end of the passage, I spotted James and tried to get his attention. Alas, he was lost in his own world.

spot the James!

This sums up Nyack well, too. Despite only being a thirty minute drive from Manhattan, Nyack has its own river-town identity. For this trip, we only stayed an hour or so, but it felt as though we were much farther up the river. 

At the end of January, the available light goes quickly, and we tried to make the most of our short visit. We walked down one of the main streets, ducking into the excellent Sage’s Herbal Apothecary to restock on honey. Not only is the store notable for its impressive selection of loose-leaf teas, herbs and spices, but I was sorely tempted by the tinctures, too. Most of their wellness items are locally made, if not in house. 

any place with tea pots in the window is a good place to me

Manhattan called us home, so we stopped into the beautiful public library to use the facilities before getting back in the car. Still, we made future dinner plans at the entrancing and whimsical Art Cafe—preferably in warmer temperatures. 

a look into The Art Cafe

As we drove out of town, we came across Rockland Lake State Park, whose vast lake immediatly set my water-mermaid sense tingling. 

By the time we crossed the Tappan Zee bridge, I’d already planned it all out, activities loosely stacked in my mind. On a warm day in summer, after a full day of lake swimming, we’d return to Nyack, Pickwick Books, and the Art Cafe. 


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