by Kevin Walsh

104-29 Jamaica Avenue is a long way from Austin Street, but there’s a reason for the name on this worn sign under the Jamaica elevated. In 1954, Bernard Titowsky opened a used bookshop in the heart of Kew Gardens, 82-60 Austin Street, and moved around the corner sixteen years later, over the years culling a devoted following even though it was only open on weekends, depending on mail order for much of its business. 

Titowsky lost his lease in Kew Gardens in 1984, but undauntedly moved here to Richmond Hill. After his death in 1993, the store has been run by its next owner, Raymond Harley, who continued Austin Bookshop’s  mecca status for used books on baseball that Titowsky cultivated.

The store’s last Yelp review was in 2014, and the sign seems to have been recently exposed from under something else, so I’m not sure the place is still open. If you know for certain, shoot me a line at until I can restore Comments.


Update: It’s open Saturdays, and has a facebook page.


Stacey June 10, 2017 - 6:44 pm

Dear Austin Book Shop,

My name is Stacey and I’m a business representative for Stuyvesant High School’s newspaper The Spectator. Founded in 1915, we are fully student-run and for nearly 100 years have remained “The Pulse of the Student Body.” Recognized by the Harvard Crimson as the largest and best student-run newspaper in the nation, our newspaper consists of 250 passionate staff members across 12 departments who work together to publish our newspaper biweekly.

The Spectator is indeed the pulse of Stuyvesant High School. It has a 99% pickup rate with 10,000 readers in the community – consisting of students, staff members, parents and alumni. Stuyvesant High School is nationally acclaimed for its academic excellence and motivated student body. Our school has over 130 clubs and publications, over 40 award-winning sports teams and 3,300 attending students.

As an independent newspaper, we do not receive funding from Stuyvesant High School and its affiliates. Each year, the Business department raises the thousands of dollars needed to format, print, and publish our paper and maintain our website.

It is The Spectator’s foremost pleasure to call upon Austin Book Shop to create an advertising partnership with our well-esteemed newspaper. The benefits of such expenditure will not only promote the growth of your own organization and share your company’s goal with our tremendous reader base, but also help preserve the tradition of excellence The Spectator has established heretofore.

If you were to advertise in our newspaper, then you would definitely gain a lot more customers. Many of our students are interested in knowing more about bookstore places around the city! In addition, if you choose to advertise with us, we also offer of very good deal with 16-issue advertisements!

We look forward to working with you as a prospective advertiser and hope to create a lasting partnership with Austin Book Shop. If you are interesting in continuing the 100 year long legacy of The Spectator by becoming one of our advertisers, please contact me at this email for more information. Thank you for your time and consideration.

Looking forward to working with you,

Stacey X.

Business Representative
The Stuyvesant Spectator

Stacey June 10, 2017 - 6:46 pm

Sorry, I thought this was an online contact form.
Please delete this comment, thank you!

Eric+Costello September 25, 2021 - 2:11 pm

Thanks to this website, I’ve discovered this store, and I love it! I’ve found some nice stuff there, and I will be returning a number of times, I think, especially since it’s moderately convenient to get there from Manhattan.


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