FORMER B. DALTON, Greenwich Village

by Kevin Walsh

The corner of 6th Avenue and West 8th Street, #396 6th Avenue, was a book store as long as I can remember it, beginning in the 1980s and continuing into the 2000s, first as a B. Dalton and then a Barnes & Noble (one of their smaller branches before they began building “book supermarkets”). It sat across 8th Street from another venerable Village touchstone, Gray’s Papaya. I still have books in my collection that I purchased at this branch; there was a decent New York city section. In 1940, a Nedick’s held down the corner.

B. Dalton was founded in Minneapolis in 1966 by Bruce Dayton, a successful Midwest department store entrepreneur, who dropped the Y and added an L. The chain expanded successfully, almost to 800 stores by 1986. Discounting by rivals like Waldenbooks and Barnes & Noble began to cut into profits by then, and B & N purchased the chain in the 1980s, converting many Daltons to Barnes & Noble outlets at a time when Amazon was a mote in Jeff Bezos’ eye.

By October 2006, this branch hosted a certain NYC webmaster whose book called “Forgotten New York” had just come out, and a merry band of revelers set off for a mini-tour of the Village afterward. That was 15 years ago, as of this writing. You’re still here, and so am I.

In this era, the intersection of 6th Avenue, West 8th and Greenwich Avenue was called Village Square and the name was displayed on street signs. The name has fallen completely out of favor since the 1940s.

As far as I can tell, the building has stood empty for nearly a decade as the owner cannot find a tenant to fill the space at the desired rent.

Check out the ForgottenBook, take a look at the gift shop, and as always, “comment…as you see fit.”



Dan February 1, 2021 - 8:33 pm

As I recall, the former B. Dalton / Barnes and Noble was supposed to become a TD Bank. The bank signed a lease, never opened the branch, but has reportedly continued to pay the very steep rent on the building for years (Nothing beats a good tax write-off). About 2 years ago, the “Villager” newspaper reported that the bank planned to sublease the space to the Blue Note Jazz Club. Since then, there’s been nothing but silence.

jp February 1, 2021 - 8:59 pm

Maybe, just maybe, the landlord is asking too much? Just a thought.

Julian Stein February 1, 2021 - 9:28 pm

It was a Nathan’s in the 1970s.

Sunnysider February 1, 2021 - 9:40 pm

Another eyesore brought to you courtesy of a greedy landlord.

Peter February 1, 2021 - 10:13 pm

Dayton also founded Target.

Matt from Flatbush February 2, 2021 - 6:43 am

I remember when it was a Nathan’s in the early ’70s. I was driving a yellow cab then and was a good place to stop off and go to the bathroom. There was a taxi stand right there, too.

Ron February 2, 2021 - 12:12 pm

I remember the site as a Nathans in the early 1970s.

Stephen Torton February 3, 2021 - 12:22 am

During the renovation adding the second floor the scaffolding bore a sign ten thousand ( or so) stories being added to this building.

Andrew Brust February 3, 2021 - 10:26 am

Before it was a bookstore it was a hot dog stand. It was a Nathan’s, and a Nedick’s before that. The opening of Gray’s Papaya across 8th St. sometime after Nathan’s closed meant the hot dog baton/tradition was carried on.

Liqueteria and an huge empty storefront ain’t the same.

Cassandra February 5, 2021 - 8:06 am

I miss the old NYC period, blimpies,T-bone steak, bar hopping in greenwich Village,

Kiwiwriter February 18, 2021 - 11:57 am

I went there many times and bought many books at that store. I was so sad to see it close, along with all the other bookstores on 8th Street.


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