Brazenhead Books – New York, New York - Atlas Obscura
Brazenhead Books is permanently closed.

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Brazenhead Books

A legendary speakeasy bookstore returns from the brink. 


Brazenhead Books is a bookstore located inside a private apartment, existing just outside the laws of retail, where a sense of impishness and wonder pervades the air. 

Once inside, the beloved bookshop’s owner, Michael Seidenberg, delights in entertaining visitors with a meandering tale of Brazenhead’s earnest conception. Begun in a sub-sidewalk retail space on Manhattan’s Upper East Side, located just a few steps below street level, its current reincarnation is now in a semi-undisclosed location in Midtown.

Even in its earliest form, as a non-secret retail bookstore, Brazenhead was adored by its patrons. However, the fanaticism of the bibliophile crowd wasn’t enough to stave off skyrocketing rent, forcing Seidenberg to take move his operation underground in 2008. Hilariously, this move involved taking Brazenhead’s stock several stories upward, into Seidenberg’s apartment. Away from the prying eyes of city zoning officials, the bookstore settled into its most permanent, legendary existence, where the man and his wares shared a living space 24/7. Inside this world where proprietor and books existed side-by-side, patrons were free to come and go as they pleased, so long as they made an appointment. Seidenberg would also throw open his doors to host the occasional party by invitation only, whose attendees were largely those of a creative and literary type. 

Gradually, word of mouth turned Brazenhead into a bona fide speakeasy of books, with publications ranking it among the most stunning bookstores anywhere on Earth.  By late 2015, however, Seidenberg was once again facing the potential death of Brazenhead when an eviction notice forced him out of the apartment that had been his and Brazenhead’s home for so long. Yet, as the curtain lifted the following year, Brazenhead had, against all odds, once again magically resurrected. This time it finds a new life in a secret Midtown location.

Despite its move, this laissez-faire atmosphere of the salon-book-party remains at Brazenhead’s new location, where Seidenberg still cohabitates with many precious volumes, all for sale at a range of prices accessible to the common man and collector alike. Once again bibliophiles’ secret temple is open for pilgrimages, so long as one is willing to put in the legwork to make an appointment with Seidenberg, whereupon Brazenhead’s exact address will be disclosed.

Update: As of June 2019, Brazenhead Books has closed indefinitely. 

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