Our stationery tour of New York City begins right in the heart of Manhattan, at the Japanese stationery paradise: Kinokuniya. The shop rests directly across from Bryant Park near Times Square, and let me warn you- the window display and narrow (compared to the store itself) glass entryway could never prepare you for the insane amount of merchandise within. The store covers 25,000 square feet, and almost every bit of it is covered in books, comics, magazines, stationery, and other Japanese goods. As I was preparing for this blog post, I read that the store has three stories. That was particularly funny to me because I didn't even realize there was a third floor during my visit.
The first floor is filled to the brim with books, and if your take the winding staircase to the left of the entrance down to the basement you will enter into a state of stationery overload. Trust me, if you're on a limited time frame (like I was) and you are even half as interested in stationery as I am, you will want to immediately head for those stairs. I stopped by the store on my way to a Broadway show, came back after the show, and stayed until the second they closed. In total, I spent at least an hour in the shop if not more- and I honestly feel like I saw less than 20% of the store. I would have loved to check out the first floor books, and apparently there is a cafe on the mysterious third floor that I missed, but once I saw the stationery selection there was no pulling me away. I could have spent at LEAST another hour in the stationery section alone. I will sum up my experience with two pieces of advice:
- Bring your family and friends along. I think it would be hard to find anyone who could not find at least one thing they were interested in within this store. Not a single person in my group left this store empty handed.
- Plan a good chunk of time to visit here if you can.
Address: 1073 6th Ave, New York, NY 10018
Notable Nearby Destinations:
- Bryant Park: Across the Street
- Times Square (0.3 mile)
- Theater District (0.5 mile)
- Stationery Stops: Muji Times Square (0.3 mile) or Muji 5th Avenue (0.3 mile)
Other Coverage of Kinokuniya:
Even the pictures above literally do not capture the amount of stationery within that basement. I wanted to point out in particular that the fountain pens featured in a glass cabinet (mostly a selection of Pilot, Platinum, Lamy, and Sailor) and fountain pen inks are not pictured above. I knew I was headed for a fountain pen specific shop later in my trip, so I moved over that section quickly to focus my time on the other merchandise. I can not imagine managing the inventory for this place, but one article I read (reference linked above) mentioned the store had over 50 employees. Some of those employees are delegated to watch over shoppers- there was definitely a high security presence in the shop. I can't really blame them with the massive floor space and amount of tiny pocketable goods that cover the shelves.
I had an extremely hard time choosing what to take home, but in the end I ended up with a few favorites I knew I would enjoy, and a few items that were new to me.
Items that I purchased without knowing exactly what I was getting myself into:
So far, my favorite item from the haul is actually the Nano Dia pencil. I love the natural finish, and the core reminds me of the extra firm Blackwing core (Backwing Volumes 24 & 530). So of course, I had to try to Hackwing it. I need to work on my whittling skills, but I have to say I'm digging the combination.
Summary: Kinokuniya is well worth a long trip!
Stop by next weekend for the next NYC stationery stop!
Special thanks to the June Thomas interview on Pen Addict for helping me chart my NYC Stationery Tour.