Last week I posted about my local independent bookstore that has survived and thrived (I swear I didn't mean to rhyme) since 1933.
I was sad to hear how many of you didn't have any indie stores near you. More sad to hear about the ones that closed down. Time, how it does change things. Sometimes for better, sometimes for worse--depending who you ask.
The El Ateneo Grand Splendid is an interesting example. Located in Buenos Aires, Argentina, it was originally built in 1919 as the Teatro Gran Splendid. In the early 1920's this theater was home to many great Tango artists. By the late 1920's it was converted to a cinema. Then, in 2000, it was converted into...
A breathtaking, uber cool, on-my-list-to-visit-someday bookstore.
Most of the seating was replaced by bookshelves, but some of the theater boxes remain so customers can sit and browse through pages, or imagine what it might have been like to see a show back in the day.
Of course, there is a cafe--located on the old stage.While you're sipping your latte or tea with spotlights shining down on your flan, you can look out and view the theater through the eyes of the performers. (Well, you'd have to pretend there are 1050 seats instead of 4 floors of books and CDs.)
I'm sure some theater lovers were devastated when this landmark was converted, but it's another example of how time changes things. As a book lover, I would LOVE to stroll through this "bookstore theater."
As I tried to keep my jaw from dropping to the floor, I'd still apprecaite the history and respect the decades of talent that passed through the doors, but I'd be grabbing a few good novels, ordering a cafe' con leche, and snuggling into one of those theater boxes. All while snapping photos and smiling like the book-loving geek that I am. (Oh, and I'd ask someone to tango with me on stage before I left. I mean, come on, I'm a shameless dance-lover too.)
Are you having a bookgasm like I did when I first saw this place? Beautiful, isn't it?
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