Tags Posts tagged with "Book Revue"

Book Revue

Holly Signoretti picks out a book at the Book Revue in Huntington village. Photo by Kimberly Brown

People are continuously told that change is inevitable but sometimes those changes can hit a human right in the heart, especially if it involves a goodbye.

Many residents along the North Shore of Suffolk County and surrounding areas were saddened to hear of the closing of Book Revue in Huntington Sept. 10. After more than 40 years of being the go-to place for book lovers, like many other businesses, the owner struggled during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The store had to shut down for three months during the pandemic, and once the owner reopened the doors, the Book Revue struggled to get back on its feet.

Despite talking with the building landlord to come to a compromise, in the end the back rent was impossible to pay back, and it was initially announced last month that the store would close Sept. 30.

With inventory starting to thin out, the store was closed Sept. 9 for employees to organize the shelves, and on Sept. 10 people were invited to come in and take books for free. By the afternoon, the store was cleaned out and Book Revue doors were closed for business permanently.

Its owner Richard Klein posted on Facebook that while the store was now closed to the public, he would be in touch soon. Customers hope so.

Not only was Book Revue the place to go to pick up some literature, but it was also a social center. Many residents remember going to the store as a child or a parent to enjoy Toddler Time with stories, live music and dancing. There were groups to discuss favorite reads, and celebrity book signings with authors such as Alan Alda, Hillary Clinton, Whoopi Goldberg, Clinton Kelly and more.

The store also offered a diverse selection of books with extensive arts and music sections as well as a section dedicated to local subjects written by Long Island authors. 

More than a place to shop or socialize, the Book Revue also drew people to Huntington village. When people come to shop at an iconic store, they usually will stay a while in the area and stop by other shops or get a bite to eat. The closing of such a business could lead to a domino effect in the village.

Our communities need more independent book stores like this former Huntington staple, ones that flourish and elevate the quality of life in a village. It’s a shame that the landlord and Klein couldn’t come to an agreement. However, the community will be forever grateful to Richard and his brother Bob, who retired from the business earlier last year, for their service to the community and providing years of happiness to Long Islanders.

Here’s hoping that another vibrant business that hosts events will come into the building to keep one of our bustling villages alive with the excitement Book Revue once did.

Pixabay photo

It’s been a difficult 18 months, especially when we think back to the early days of the pandemic as we watched businesses across our communities adjust to state mandates after COVID-19 raged through our area. From limiting capacity to some businesses not being able to operate at all, many owners had difficulty adjusting.

Despite the lifting of state mandates a few months ago, many are still suffering.

As we look around more and more, places are closing or are in jeopardy of shutting down. In the last two weeks, we have heard the news of the Book Revue in Huntington set to close by Sept. 30. After 44 years of business, the village staple is in a financial hole.

The store had been shut down for three months during the pandemic. Once it was reopen, the business struggled to get back on its feet, and the owner fell behind on the rent.

To the east, Smithtown Performing Arts Center is having trouble holding on to its lease of the old theater. The nonprofit is also behind in its rent and has been unable to make a deal with the landlord, which led him to put the theater up for sale two weeks ago.

Both businesses received assistance during the pandemic. The Book Revue, like many others, was fortunate to receive loans through the federal Paycheck Protection Program to pay employees’ salaries and keep the lights on. For SPAC, the nonprofit received a Shuttered Venue Operators Grant but needs to have a full account of debts to be able to reconcile grant monies.

With the pandemic lingering, what many people are discovering is that the assistance just artificially propped them up for a short while. Now more than ever, local businesses and nonprofits need the help of community members to enter their storefronts and buy their products. When a consumer chooses between shopping or eating locally instead of online or going to a big chain, it makes a difference.

If one looks for a silver lining in all this, it may be that many business owners have come up with innovative ways to stay open, while others have embraced curbside pickup and created websites and social media accounts that will be an asset in the future.

And while it’s sad to see so many favorite businesses closing their doors, it also paves the way for new stores with fresh ideas to come in with items such as different types of ice cream or creative giftware or clothing.

Many of our main streets need revitalization and the arrival of new businesses or current ones reinventing themselves can be just what our communities need to reimagine themselves — and not only survive but thrive in the future.

We can all help small local businesses stay afloat, whether it’s an old staple or a new place. Because at the end of the day, if a store or restaurant has been empty and the cash register reflects that, we’ll see more and more empty storefronts in our future.

Spend your money wisely — shop and eat locally.

Holly Signoretti picks out a book at the Book Revue in Huntington village. Photo by Kimberly Brown

After 44 years of business, countless celebrity guest appearances and thousands of loyal customers, Huntington village’s independent bookstore, Book Revue located on New York Avenue, will be closing its doors by Sept. 30.

Photo by Kimberly Brown

Due to the pandemic, the well-known store had to shut down business for three months, but even when the owner Richard Klein was able to reopen, it struggled to get back on its feet again. 

“We lost our events, where authors, politicians, celebrities and athletes would come in, and that was a very big part of our business, and we lost it,” he said. “It all came back very slowly, so we fell behind on the rent.”

According to Klein, he spoke with one of the landlords during the course of the pandemic asking to give the store a chance as the fall season approached, hoping business would pick back up. 

“I told him I’d start paying in September for the rest of the year, not full rent but more than half, and if the fall came back with decent business then I’d start paying additional rent and paying back the debt,” he said. “He told me that sounded OK and would discuss it with his partners.”

Unfortunately, the person Klein spoke with died two months ago, leaving the son to take lead on most of the decision-making. 

Photo by Kimberly Brown

Despite having a payment plan worked out before the broker’s death, suddenly the remaining landlords demanded Klein pay the money he owed immediately. 

“I gave them a starting proposal, and they didn’t give me anything back, telling me it was unacceptable, and that the money was needed now,” Klein said.

The building’s landlords did not respond with a comment before press time.

With outcries of disappointment and anger from local book shoppers, a GoFundMe was set up to attempt to save the beloved store but was later taken down. 

Klein said even if the community was able to fundraise the debt money, the landlords were changing the rent to a 75% increase, which is impossible for the business to keep up with. 

“I’m really sad because I love this place,” said Kathleen Willig, a Seaford resident. “There are no independent bookstores on Long Island — it’s all Barnes and Nobles. I really think independent bookstores are the charm of so many cities and states. It truly feels more personalized.”

Reminiscing on the impact Book Revue had on people’s lives while growing up around town, made regular customers disappointed to see it go.

“My mom used to bring me here and now I bring my daughter here, so to me it’s part of my childhood and I think it’s what holds the town together,” said Michele Lamonsoff, a Huntington resident. 

Photo by Kimberly Brown

While some customers said they will miss the comfort of reading unique novels, others who work in the field of education relied on the store for classroom work. Plainview resident and social studies teacher Nicole Scotto said her favorite part of Book Revue was the history section.

“As a social studies teacher, I always enjoyed browsing through Book Revue’s extensive collection of history books and finding used books on niche topics with the previous owners’ handwritten notes in the margins,” Scotto said.

Billy Collins

By Melissa Arnold

The written word has the ability to stir up emotions in ways little else can. Whether it’s a collection of zealous love poems, a thought-provoking novel or the adrenaline rush of a favorite song on the radio, words are powerful. 

Like many Americans, essayist and novelist Roger Rosenblatt is heartbroken over the intense and sometimes even violent divisions in America today. 

“I was really concerned with how ready people are to argue and fight with one another,” said Rosenblatt, who lives on the East End. “And I started to think, ‘Can I make a difference here?’”

Alice McDermott

An idea came quickly, and Rosenblatt fired off a letter to friends, former students and colleagues, all of them writers in some fashion. His message: Let’s come together and use our talents to encourage unity and peace.

A few days later, he had dozens of enthusiastic responses. The result is Write America: A Reading for Our Country, a free, weekly online event hosted by Book Revue in Huntington. Beginning Feb. 1 and continuing through September, authors from around the country and all walks of life will read from their work, share their thoughts, and take questions from viewers.

Book Revue last partnered with Rosenblatt in the fall, when they held a celebration and comedic “roast” for his 80th birthday. Event coordinator Loren Limongelli said they were thrilled to hear from him again, especially with such a wonderful idea.

“Roger has gathered artists from all ages, races and backgrounds to bridge the divide in our nation and reach people with the reminder that we’re all human,” said Limongelli, who will emcee the series. “We’ve had unwavering support from the community during the pandemic and we want to give back to them by providing really exciting events with well-known authors.”

The growing list of participants runs the gamut from up-and-coming authors to award-winning and nationally recognized writers, including Billy Collins, Rita Dove, Major Jackson, Alan Alda, Alice McDermott, Amy Hempel, Natalie Diaz, Tyehimba Jess, Paul Auster, and many more. 

“I wanted to make sure we had representation from all parts of the country, different kinds of people, and different types of writing as well: poets, novelists, essayists, women, men, people of color,” Rosenblatt said. “They got it. Writers are generally private people and we joke that they shouldn’t let us out, but there was a unique opportunity here to do some good. We feel like we have a responsibility to reach out to the public.”

The writers were encouraged to read from works they feel are healing and inspiring for all people, regardless of differences in politics or opinion.

Alan Alda

Suffolk County local Alan Alda has spent the latest part of his career immersed in the art of communication. He has written memoirs and books exploring how we relate to one another, what’s most important in life and why it all matters.

“I think it’s great that Roger has opened a door for writers to be able to make their own special contribution to national healing through their writing,” Alda said. 

“I’m not sure what I’ll be reading yet, but I have my eye on a description I wrote in my last book of the day mortal enemies took an impromptu day off from killing each other.”

Novelist Alice McDermott recalled that in his letter, Roger said that while writers don’t make many observable changes in the world, they can make a little noise.

“Is this important? I think so. Our public discourse of late has made it so easy for us to dismiss and to vilify one another, to silence and to degrade,” she said. “Maybe we can help to restore, even temporarily — we are human, after all, and full of flaws — the way we speak about and think about and even feel about our world and one another.”

Write America kicks off on Feb. 1 and will be held live at 7 p.m. Mondays on CrowdCast, a web-based meeting platform. All events are free. Registration is required by visiting www.bookrevue.com/write-america-series. For additional information, call 631-271-1442.

WRITE AMERICA SCHEDULE:

February 1

Rita Dove

Rita Dove & Billy Collins

February 8

Francine Prose & Paul Muldoon

February 15

Russell Banks, Major Jackson and Alice McDermott

February 22

Patricia Marx & Garry Trudeau

March 1

Alan Bergman & Adam Gopnik

March 8

Alan Alda & Arlene Alda

March 15

Linda Pastan, Paul Harding and Juan Felipe Herrera

March 22

George H. Colt & Anne Fadiman

March 29

Kirsten Valdez Quade & Nick Flynn

April 5

Kurt Andersen & Amy Hempel

April 12

Claudia Acevedo-Quiñones & Julie Sheehan 

April 19

Natalie Diaz & Daniel Halpern

April 26

Paul Auster, Siri Hustvedt & David Remnick

May 3

Carlos Fonseca & Rose Styron

May 10

Lloyd Schwartz & Priya Jain

May 17

Patricia McCormick & Michelle Whittaker

May 24

Grace Schulman & Lance Morrow

May 31

Bruce Weber & Molly Gaudry

More dates will be announced with authors … Adrienne Unger, Amy Cacciola, Cornelia Channing, Dar-Juinn Chou, David Lynn, Elizabeth Hawes Weinstock, Emma Walton Hamilton, Genevieve Sly Crane, Gregory Pardlo, Hilma Wolitzer, Jacqueline Leo, Jean Hanff Korelitz, Jennifer McDonald, Jill McCorkle, Jillian LaRussa, John Leo, Joyce Maynard, Jules Feiffer, Kate Lehrer, Kaylie Jones, Lora Tucker, Lou Ann Walker, Richard Ford, Robert Lipsyte, Robert Reeves, Roger Rosenblatt, Vjay Seshadri, Suchita Nayar, Susan Isaacs, Susan Minot, Tyehimba Jess, Ursula Hegi, and Vanessa Cuti. 

This article first appeared in Prime Times, a supplement of TBR News Media, on Jan. 28, 2021.

 

SONGS SAY SO MUCH

It was bittersweet as the Book Revue in Huntington said goodbye to Jeff Sorg on Jan. 23. The singer/songwriter hosted his last Toddler Time at the bookstore, after performing there for 16 years. While he will continue to write music, Sorg said he plans to spend some time traveling with his wife, who recently retired. Parents and children joined Sorg for songs, some dancing and a puppet show and then met his replacement, Noah Packard (pictured on the right with Sorg) who’s first day is on Feb. 20. Thank you Jeff for the joy you have brought to so many children over the years. You will be missed. 

Photos by Heidi Sutton

Book Revue in Huntington hosted a book-signing event for Whoopi Goldberg on Oct. 11. The host of “The View” was in town to promote her latest book, “The Unqualified Hostess.” Hundreds of fans lined up to have their copy signed by the award-winning actress and comedian, best known for her roles in “The Color Purple,” “Sister Act,” “Ghost” and as Guinan in “Star Trek: The Next Generation.” Goldberg took the time to speak with each fan before taking candid photos.

Photos by Heidi Sutton

The former, albeit short-lived White House employee tells all in exclusive TBR interview

Former White House Communications Director Anthony Scaramucci promotes his new book at Book Revue in Huntington before a crowd. Photo by Kyle Barr

Anthony Scaramucci, the one-time White House communications director and Port Washington native, swirled through the Trump Administration like a tornado during his 10-day tenure in 2017. Though if there’s any specific reason he didn’t last as long as he would have liked to, he said it’s because he tells it like it is.

“I’m not the type of person well suited for Washington – I’m honest,” Scaramucci said in an exclusive interview with TBR News Media Nov. 4. “I’m not going to spin like that, I told [President Donald Trump] that.”

Scaramucci travelled back to the vicinity of his old stomping grounds to promote his new book, “Donald Trump, The Blue-Collar President” for a book signing event at Book Revue in Huntington Sunday. Local residents asked questions about Scaramucci the man, but many were especially keen on hearing about his time and experience with the 45th President of the United States.

Former White House Communications Director Anthony Scaramucci promotes his new book at Book Revue in Huntington before a crowd. Photo by Kyle Barr

Scaramucci was in the White House from July 21 through July 31, 2017, though before he was fired the man known widely as “The Mooch” stunned media correspondents with his uproarious Wall Street financier’s attitude, unafraid of using language not usually seen on air, let alone from the federal government’s top spokesperson. It was that lack of a filter that likely cost him his job, after talking to The New Yorker Magazine reporter Ryan Lizza and saying on the record, “I’m not [former White House Chief Strategist Steve] Bannon, I’m not trying to suck my own [expletive].”

Though the former communications director said he owns up to the mistake, that bluster likely brought more than 100 people, both Trump supporters and critics, to Book Revue to ask questions about his experience with Trump, who he said he’s known for more than 20 years.

The author said there is a strategy behind Trump’s consistent attacks on news media. Scaramucci said the president aims to keep the media in disarray for the purpose of galvanizing his base, which seems to enjoy the constant onslaught.

“He is using the bombast as a firecracker to throw into the crowd of the media,” he said. “He tells a lie, a mistruth or creates puffery, they’re going to self-immolate on the air – they will be all upset – while his base is laughing at them. They’ve made themselves part of the story while he’s trying to galvanize that base.”

Though Scaramucci’s advice to Trump is to dial back the attacks he said, at least enough to make the nation’s overall political discourse less volatile.

“If you could shoot somebody on 5th Avenue and still get votes, as you once said, why not try being nice for two weeks?” he said he told Trump. “The president has a very unique personality, and the market price is in, he’s going to say a lot of cuckoo, la-la things. The people who are replicating his strategy are having a hard time. You cannot beat the president on the field he’s playing.”

While Scaramucci said he had asked Trump to dial it back at some points, Huntington Village resident Dominick “Dominooch” Mavellia asked why he should when it was precisely that personality that won him the presidency.

“There’s a huge transitional opportunity for him to keep his base in check and appeal to the center … he’s going to need to secure reelection,” Scaramucci said, responding to Mavellia. “I don’t think he can recreate that map he created in 2016 because [the opposition] has now adapted and pivoted. If he calms it down a little, just moving it down to fourth gear from fifth, still being aggressive on the media, pushing the message towards the middle, and getting those independents he will win a resounding reelection.”

Scaramucci, a former Goldman Sachs banker and founder of the investment firm SkyBridge Capital, is not the first ex-White House official to scribe a book about the experience of working for the 45th president. Omarosa Manigault Newman, former assistant to the president, published “Unhinged: An insider’s account of the Trump Whitehouse” in August, calling Trump a “racist” and saying he was losing much of his cognitive ability.

Former White House Communications Director Anthony Scaramucci promotes his new book at Book Revue in Huntington before a crowd. Photo by Kyle Barr

The author of this latest book on Trump said while he was originally approached to write a book just after he was pushed out of office, those publishing firms were looking for a tell-all book similar to what Manigault would later write. He was approached by another, conservative political book publisher Center Street, whom he said published the book to coincide with the midterm elections Nov. 6.

“I wanted to write about what Bannon’s like as a guy, what [White House Chief of Staff John] Kelly is like as a guy,” Scaramucci said. “[Trump’s] surrounded by cockroaches, and they all want to survive him. They think they’re going to be there forever.”

Scaramucci said half the book examines Trump’s 2016 electoral win as he witnessed it with Trump on the campaign trail in 2016. He pointed to states like Wisconsin, battleground states then-candidate Hillary Clinton has been criticized for neglecting to campaign in, where Trump made several trips, as the path to his electoral success.

The other half of the book goes into his short time spent in the White House, lambasting the people he called “snakes,” who he blamed for pushing him out of his position.

“I got an 11-day PhD in Washington scumbaggery, and as bad as people thought it was it all was, it’s way worse,” he said. “There’s an opportunity here for real people to enter into the system and break the corpocracy that’s strangling Washington … though we might not be able to break it.”

By Anthony Petriello

The streets of downtown Huntington were buzzing the morning of June 28 as readers and fans alike waited patiently for a chance to meet former President Bill Clinton (D) and author James Patterson.

Security was tight at Book Revue, an independently-owned bookstore on New York Avenue, and excitement was in the air. A long line stretched around the corner Main Street before taking a turn onto Wall Street as patrons began lining up as early as 9 a.m. for the 11 a.m. event.

“I’m a big supporter of his,” said Chris Jones, who said he was elated to meet Clinton. “It’s not every day you get the opportunity to meet a U.S. President.”

Clinton and Patterson were signing copies of their latest joint novel, “The President is Missing,” which was released June 4. The thriller takes place in contemporary America, wherein the president goes missing only to become a suspect in a looming attack.

“It’s not every day you get the opportunity to meet a U.S. President.”
– Chris Jones

“As the novel opens, a threat looms. Enemies are planning an attack of unprecedented scale on America,” reads Patterson’s description of the plot posted on his website. “Uncertainty and fear grip Washington. There are whispers of cyberterror and espionage and a traitor in the cabinet. The President himself becomes a suspect, and then goes missing.”

The book signing attracted a wide variety of people. Among the younger audience in attendance was Ryan McInnes, who was standing in line with his father.

“He’s inspirational to young people in this country,” McInnes said.

The president and Patterson were not available for comment at the event, but those who purchased tickets and waited patiently had the opportunity to meet the co-authors and have their copy of the novel signed.
This was Clinton’s second time appearing at Book Revue, which was founded in 1977 and is now one of the largest independent bookstores in the United States. The store has hosted many notable figures in the past including Hoda Kotb, Anderson Cooper and Bill Nye, among others.

Book Revue Owner Richard Klein was appreciative of Clinton’s cooperation.

“He is very personable, and we were happy to have him,” Klein said. “The event went very smoothly and we were happy to serve our customers and see everyone having a good time.”

Book Revue has several copies of “The President is Missing” that were signed by Patterson and made available for purchase after the event. The store is located at 313 New York Avenue in Huntington.

Former U.S. Congressman Steve Israel (D-Huntington) signs copies of his new novel "Big Guns" at Book Revue. Photo by Karen Forman

By Karen Forman

A Huntington politician turned author is hoping his newest novel hits its mark with area residents.

Former U.S. Congressman Steve Israel (D) celebrated the release of his latest work of fiction “Big Guns” at Huntington’s Book Revue April 19 to a standing-room only crowd.

The 320-page novel, released April 17 by publisher Simon & Schuster, is a political satire on national gun control issues that almost seems ripped from recent headlines.

Huntington resident Avalon Fenster, 16, speaks at Israel’s book release as the founder of March for Our Lives Long Island. Photo by Karen Forman

“After Sandy Hook, I saw the president crying about all the first graders who were murdered and I thought that now things are going to be different,” Israel said. “But nothing changed.”

The former politician said he was inspired after reading that the small town of Nelson, Georgia, passed an ordinance in 2013 that every single resident had to own and carry a gun — or pay a fine.

“That triggered the idea for the book,” he said.

“Big Guns” is the second novel written by Israel, following “The Global War on Morris” which hit book stores in December 2014. Both novels are fictional political satires that make illusions and references to Long Island towns.

“I believe that satire is the most successful way of making a point,” he said. “I wanted to make my point without slapping people in the face, and satire is more believable when you use local references.”

Readers may be surprised to find Israel’s novel is also filled with local characters who are based on people he served with when he was a Huntington town councilman, from 1993 to 2001, and others he met while in Congress.

While serving in the U.S. Congress, the former politician said he and other Democratic congressmen have attempted to pass several bills on gun reform: universal background checks; “no fly, no buy” laws; laws that would outlaw bullets that can pierce a cop’s body armor. All were defeated.

Fourth-grader Spencer James with his mom, Fran James, and twin brother, Matthew, at the book launch. Photo by Karen Forman

Israel said one day in the “members-only elevator” in Congress, a colleague told him that he couldn’t believe he had just voted against all these gun reform amendments. But otherwise, he couldn’t go back to his district and face all his NRA supporters.

“That shows the intensity of gun voters,” Israel said. “They vote on guns and that’s all. They don’t vote on other issues. And they will not forgive politicians who vote against guns.”

The former politician has been actively involved with the March for Our Lives Long Island movement, founded by 16-year-old Huntington resident Avalon Fenster. While she is still too young to vote, Fenster said she agrees that “young people are the change.” Several students attended the event after having heard Israel speak at the March for Our Lives rally March 24, including Spencer James, a fourth-grader from Jack Abrams STEM Magnet School in Huntington.

“I want my future to be safe and happy,” James said.

Israel said he  feels there is hope now for real change in federal gun control policies.

“Our government has failed us on this issue, the adults have allowed this to happen,” he said. “But these young people today are not giving up. They will not forget. And so there will be change.”

Bruce Campbell answers questions from the audience.

By Kyle Barr

Bruce Campbell walked from the back room of the Book Revue in Huntington on August 15 to a crowd that had flooded the entire space of the bookstore. Fans had crowded in between shelves stuffed with books and in chairs besieging a small podium to the rear of the store. The line to pick up Campbell’s new book, “Hail to the Chin: Further Confessions of a B Movie Actor,” snaked its way around the store.

The man made famous for starring in B movies, the “Evil Dead” trilogy and television show as well as for his large, clefted chin was rather nonchalant about the turnout.

“Who came the farthest away today?” he asked the crowd. A person in the back shouted “England,” with an English accent. “England?” Campbell said, his mouth twitching. “You’re full of crap.” Another person yelled out California. “California? You didn’t come here just for this, cause I’m going to California.” The audience laughed. “You’re either lying or you’re an idiot.”

The crowd was large enough that Campbell was signing books and memorabilia late into the night. The venue didn’t allow people to spend too much time taking pictures with Campbell, but he was eager to calm people by making a joke of it. “They’ll take pictures, they’re gonna grab your damn camera, click click click click, you’re gonna go, ‘Oh, are we posing?’ nope, click click, the camera’s back in your hand and you don’t know what happened. You’re gonna get pictures tonight, they’re gonna be mostly crappy. Photoshop, reframe them. I’m gonna see all these crappy photos on Twitter tomorrow and I’ll go, ‘Wow, that’s another crappy photo.’”

Campbell is well known for his facial ticks. He always talks with his head tilted to the side and his lips twitch often. It’s part of his persona, the one people have learned to appreciate from childhoods spent watching the “Evil Dead” films and Campbell’s other B movie rolls — people like Dennis Carter Jr. of Lake Ronkonkoma, who that day cosplayed as the chain-saw-toting, ripped shirted main character of the famed “Evil Dead” franchise.

Carter says his friends call him the Long Island Ash, as he has a penchant for dressing up as the main character of the “Evil Dead” franchise and going to conventions. He especially likes to show up wherever Campbell appears. Just the day before Carter traveled to New Jersey to see him at a book signing in that state as well.

“Bruce is really a good guy,” Carter said. “He’s not like other celebrities who get pompous about these sort of things. He’s really humbled by the crowds that he gets. He’s worth it.”