In 2016, the Bay Plaza Barnes & Noble in the Bronx closed. Despite the efforts of 3,000 protesters and over 10,000 petitioners coming together to save the store, this closing left 1.5 million people without a single bookstore—until now. The Lit. Bar is opening its doors, providing an indie bookstore-wine bar hybrid to the Mott Haven community and the Bronx as a whole.
“The Bronx is no longer burning...except with desire to read,” says Noëlle Santos, founder, and owner of the Lit. Bar. A millennial, Afro-Latina woman from the Bronx, Santos dreamed of creating an independent bookstore in her home that would bring the community together as well as endorse creativity and the arts. At The Lit. Bar, customers can both purchase books and enjoy social gatherings and “intellectual entertainment.”
Second place winner of the New York Public Library StartUP! Business Plan Competition, the Lit. Bar offers a space for community members to support local artists and authors. According to an article published by amNewYork last May, Santos wanted to provide books by authors of color that featured protagonists of color and members of marginalized groups. Among the store’s goals are to “create original media content, which emphasize local interest and diversity for all ages.”
Local businesses keep the diverse, culturally rich beauty of New York City alive. With the impending Amazon takeover of Long Island City looming over our heads, it is important to recognize the threat big corporations pose on businesses such as independent bookstores. Literature lights a fire within us that in turn urges us to light up the world and create change. Thanks to women like Noëlle Santos and her team at The Lit. Bar, we are seeing these changes come into fruition.
To learn more visit www.thelitbar.com.