Barnes & Noble- Union Square
In many parts of the country, a big chain store like Barnes & Noble seems like a bland, monolithic mall store, stomping out the charming little guys with overblown, cookie-cutter architecture and ever-changing, minimally book-wise staff. But here in New York, it's nice to be able to do a little one-stop shopping sometimes. B&N started in New York & it kinda feels like the hometown spot; it suits the scale and demands of New York, offers free same day delivery in Manhattan, and, with locations going out of business all over the city, it almost feels like an underdog these days. For those who turn their noses up at huge chain stores like Barnes and Noble, read this. Those who can see the value will enjoy the massive cast iron columns, 4 floors of books (not a matter of a narrow space, each floor is sprawling), and generous "sit down anywhere on the floor" policy that gives it a distinctly casual air. Plus: Some of the biggest author readings anywhere.