“If a saloon and bookstore can’t make it on the Upper West Side, what better evidence do you need than that of the decline of artistic and free thought? If this is happening here, what must you see in the hinterlands of America?”
Of course, he has no idea, personally. The hinterland is home to the “booboisie” his hero Menken loathed so deeply.
For more than a decade, beginning after Barnes & Noble opened its doors, Mr. Mysak has sold from his collection of hundreds of used books. Instead of shelves, he uses a rickety old folding table, which he sets up south of 68th Street, along with some plastic crates and well-worn cardboard boxes. (…)
In some ways, Mr. Mysak is an unlikely bookish hero — he was disbarred as a lawyer in New Jersey and was convicted of pilfering money from clients. (…)
The nearby Apple store, he notes, has no problem attracting customers, who walk out with slick white bags holding small devices with large price tags.
“People walk out of there as if they are in ecstasy,” he said.