With balloons, a ribbon- cutting ceremony and author signing, Barnes & Noble officially opened its new Cobble Hill location at 194 Atlantic Ave. on Wednesday morning. The bright new book emporium, which occupies the site’s ground floor and lower level, is just west of Trader Joe’s, at the space formerly occupied by Barneys.
A small crowd gathered on the sidewalk before the opening. Yinam and acclaimed Brooklyn author Hernan Diaz gave enthusiastic speeches, and then Diaz and his daughter Elsa wielded the giant scissors to cut the yellow ribbon.
“I have been a book- seller for Barnes & Noble for 12 years; some of you might recognize me from the Court Street store,” Yinam said. “Our booksellers are so proud of the achievement they have made and they can’t wait to recommend a book for you for your next read, or recommend a book for your friends.”
Diaz signed copies of his latest book Trust, which was longlisted for the 2022 Booker Prize. Trust is called “ingenious,” “exhilarating and intelligent” and a “tour de force” in rave reviews, and was picked as a Top Ten book of 2022 by The New York Times, The Washington Post and former President Barack Obama.
“What’s exciting about the opening of Barnes & Noble today is that Atlantic Avenue once again has a bookstore,” Kelly Carroll, executive director of the Atlantic Avenue Business Improvement District (BID), Noble “will attract new shoppers who will discover Atlantic Avenue as a destination in itself.” She invited visitors “to make an evening of it — have a stroll, pop into some of our hundreds of storefronts, take in the architecture, and decide to stay for dinner.”
Olga Lukasheva was visiting the store with her young friend James, age 18 months.
“It’s beautiful,” she said. “James is a huge fan of Barnes & Noble. We’ve been waiting for this day.”
The chain closed its former location, which was a block and a half away on Court Street in Brooklyn Heights, on Tuesday. It lost its lease there after two decades, according to store manager Yinam Chung (who goes by the name Yinam).
“We’re going to be doing a lot of community events,” he added. “Poetry events, weekend storytime and an additional storytime on Wednesday night for parents who want to bring slightly older kids.”
“What makes a book- store great is the fact that it builds a community around itself, and by any measurable standards, Barnes & Noble, either in Brooklyn Heights or in its newest incarnation in Cobble Hill, has been doing that since we moved to the neighborhood 13 1⁄2 years ago,” Diaz said. “Elsa here virtually grew up in the old branch.” told the Eagle. (The Atlantic Book Shop, at 179 Atlantic Ave., closed in 2011.)
Carroll added that the BID is also excited by the prospect that Barnes &
Do you like books?” this reporter asked James. “Yes!” he replied, walk- ing immediately to a shelf filled with boxed games.
“I think it’s a good spot,” said Alex Sierra, store manager for Urban Outfitters, located a few storefronts west on Atlantic Avenue. “At Urban Outfitters we always talked about how we hoped another retailer came into the space and increased traffic … People can get their books and then get some clothes next door.”
The new store is smaller than the Court Street location, according to Melissa Marchese, an HR business partner for Barnes & Noble’s New York City stores. Marchese said there are about “20-ish” employees, a bit fewer than the Court Street store. Most of the employees migrated from Court Street.
“I can’t wait for kids to get out of school and see the section downstairs,” she said.
Barnes and Noble plans to open 30 new stores this year, “buoyed across the country by a reading renaissance and enthusiasm for physical bookstores,” according to a company release. The new Atlantic Avenue location is the first new location to open in 2023.
Manager Yinan said he didn’t know what the property owners had planned for the former site.