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.