Here at the corner of Houston and West Broadway most Saturdays, the street vendors in these shots have been at it for for over 15 years, proving that it's not impossible to survive in New York doing what you love (at least for now). The selection is bookish and brainy with a wonderfully reliable selection of classics. The vendors are chatty, smart, and experienced, with plenty of observations on changing New York from the streets-eye view. They've even appeared in the documentary Book Wars. Plus: You're not far from Kiosk, you lucky person!
6o's counterculture types never seem to stray far from their original obsessions (i.e., comic books, Che, tarot cards, Tantric sex, Art Nouveau), and Unoppresive has a pretty reliable selection of these kinds of books. They remain a great bookstore however by transcending these topics and branching further out into a wide range of subjects. And no matter what your politics are, you can't argue with the prices. No empire building here; the markups on these books can only just cover the rent in this beautiful, pricey West Village neighborhood. Plus: Don't be scared to head back into the dungeon-like kid's book area, it's actually pretty good.