Ars Obscura - Atlas Obscura

Ars Obscura

In this subterranean brick arcade, a small shop continues the ancient practice of bookbinding.  


Formerly in the empty brick arcades of the Grand Central Building basement is the Ars Obscure Bookbinding and Restoration Company. Inside the small shop, the centuries-old profession of bookbinding is alive and well.

The operation is festooned with hanging leathers, excitingly chunky metal presses, and a host of other equipment that hail from a distant time and place outside the quotidian and modern. If you’re lucky, the quiet owner may be in and working. A small selection of notebooks and other handbound items are for sale, but the shop also specializes in restoring and binding historical works and grimoires. Also, there is almost always a bouquet of free, magnificently marbled paper bookmarkers for visitors.

Know Before You Go

The shop has moved; the Grand Central Arcade building is no longer open to the public. There is no entry from Occidental Square; the new location is two blocks away. Entrance by appointment only.

The shop owner still provides restoration services, but they are held in a common area in the entryway of the building, and patrons no longer get to experience the bookbinding shop itself.

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August 28, 2019

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