Interview with a Bookstore: Hullabaloo
When Your Neighborhood Doesn't Have a Bookstore, Open One
Before Hullabaloo, Crown Heights was a neighborhood that was without a bookstore. I wanted to create a space that not only had a great selection of books, but also served as a meeting and mingling space for the community. Hullabaloo opened in November, 2013. The store hosts book clubs, readings and writing groups, lectures and classes, always free of charge. I couldn’t imagine living in a neighborhood that was without a bookstore. To my taste, it’s fundamental to the pleasure of living in any neighborhood.
–Michael de Zayas (owner)
What's your favorite section of the store?
If you had infinite space what would you add?
What do you do better than any other bookstore?
Abhorrence of horizontal bookshelves.
What’s the craziest situation you’ve ever had to deal with in the store?
The first night Hullabaloo was officially open a fight broke out amongst a group of middle school girls right in front. One came into the store with a jagged-edged broken bottle in her hand. The police came and made some arrests. No one bought anything.
What’s your earliest/best memory about visiting a bookstore as a child?
My aunt and uncle owned a bookstore in North Carolina called Intimate Bookshop. I was ten years old at the time and they told me that I could have any book that I wanted from their store. I remember being overcome with this sense of freedom and wonder. My book of choice on that day: a history of the Dallas Cowboys.
If you weren’t running or working at a bookstore, what would you be doing?
Well in addition to Hullabaloo, I also own Little Zelda, which is a literary-minded coffee shop, a bar called Two Saints, a hair salon, four bagel shops called Nagel’s Bagels (a family name), a wine store about to open called Simple Syrup, and I’m working on opening a movie theater and arts complex which will be called Inter/mission. However, to answer your question, I would be reading these works of Elena Ferrante I keep hearing about…
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