‘Bluestockings’ Celebrates 20 Years on the Lower East Side

Posted on: May 6th, 2019 at 5:05 am by

This month, the venerable Bluestockings celebrates a momentous milestone. Twenty years selling books from a storefront on Allen Street.

Bluestockings – named for the 18th century intellectual women in the Blue Stockings Society – opened at 172 Allen in 1999. Its current model as a collectively-run, worker-owned bookstore and activist center followed a brief closure in 2001. Since then, the establishment has been pushing left-leaning literature on topics such as feminism, queer and gender studies, global capitalism, climate & environment, police and prisons, and radical education ever since. In fact, Bluestockings is reportedly designated one of only 13 remaining feminist-identified bookstores in North America.

The old storefront, June 2012

But this road hasn’t been without its challenges. Indeed, four years ago, the business was on the edge. Ownership signed a five-year lease in 2015 at a much higher renewal rate, and needed some extra juice to stay afloat; remodeling the space was also in the cards. The subsequent crowdfunding campaign was successful in raising enough capital – more than $37,000 – for the renovation project.

To mark the occasion, Bluestockings is celebrating with a party at the end of the month (May 31). Poets, performers, and writers are slated to participate, including Jeremiah Moss from Vanishing New York.

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