America’s Oldest Gay Bookstore Will Close Its Doors


It breaks my heart to learn the Oscar Wilde Bookshop in New York City’s Greenwich Village will, after 41 years, close its doors. Known as nation’s oldest gay and lesbian book store, it will sell its last manuscript on March 29. Like me, Oscar Wilde lived on the famed Christopher Street; in fact, we were next door neighbors. I only stopped in a few times, but I walked by the window every day for years. (It opened on Mercer Street before moving to Christopher.) Kim Brinster, the shop’s fifth owner, cites the economy for the closure, which actually comes six years after the store nearly closed because of finances in 2003. We’ll miss you.

Brinster writes to customer:

It is with a sorrowful heart that after 41 years in business the Oscar Wilde Bookshop will close its doors for the final time on March 29, 2009. We want to thank all of our customers for their love and loyalty to the store over the years. You have helped make this store a world wide destination and all of us at the store have enjoyed welcoming our neighbors whether they are next door or half way around the world.

In 1967 Craig Rodwell started this landmark store that not only sold Gay and Lesbian literature but also became a meeting place for the LGBT community. Over the years it grew into a first-rate bookshop thanks to the loyal, smart and dedicated staff. There are not enough words to thank these dedicated booksellers for making the OWB one of the world’s finest LGBT bookstores. I feel very honored to have gotten to work with them.

Unfortunately we do not have the resources to weather the current economic crisis and find it’s time to call it a day. So thanks to all who have been a part of the Oscar Wilde family over the years, you have truly been a part of a great global community.

[Photo: NYT]