Oh! My achin' feet! All that marching down Fifth Avenue and dancing all night with the women of the city has got my toes tired. I need to sit back, put these tootsies up and cuddle up with a good book. Now, where to find the right book . . .
I could pick up a volume of lesbian plays at Creative Visions @ 548 Hudson Street (and Perry), which makes its home in the very same space where the giant in homosexual bookstores, A Different Light, had its quaint beginnings. Their homey, West Village space has benches to lounge on while you're thumbing through display books, listening to jazz renditions of Broadway standards, and sipping tea from the small cafe in back. The store is set up to cater to the wander-around-and-discover type. Hidden treasures abound, like the amazingly complete collection of Broadway and off-Broadway Playbills of the 1970s and 1980s, or the small exhibition of gay art covering the free wall space of the cafe.
Creative Visions is open daily from noon to 7PM (212-645-7573).
A little further East, just down the street from Stonewall, is the Oscar Wilde Memorial Bookshop @ 15 Christopher Street. Too small to sport a cafe - or even a wall to separate the men's and the women's books - this literal hole-in-the-wall has crammed every available inch of space, including the ceiling, full of books, posters, jewelry, and videos. They are always up-to-date with the latest releases, and can order you anything you want. For a change of medium, wander to the women's music selection, which is especially well-stocked. I thrive on perusing their historic collection of Gay Comix and scanning the cluttered women's bulletin board.
Oscar Wilde Memorial Bookshop is open daily from 11:30AM to 7:30PM (212-255-8097).
And then there's the Barnes & Noble of G, L, Bi, & Trans Bookselling: A Different Light at its new, spacious location in Chelsea - @ 151 W. 19th Street (and 7th Avenue). Barnes & Noble, the model of mainstream, has a fairly thorough selection of queer books and magazines, but nothing can beat A Different Light's collection of vintage and out-of-print books and its meticulous, shelf-by-shelf classification of literature.
Browse through the crafted wood stacks and you'll discover lesbian sci-fi, collections of S & M poetry, cornball coming-out novels and rows of gay play anthologies. Tossed in with the reading material are T-shirts, greeting cards, videos, games and other chotchkes. Computer addicts can pick up a database of famous gay historical figures or a screensaver with clip art of female nudes. And have I mentioned the incredible line-up of writers' workshops, music performances, poetry and fiction readings, and Sunday Night Free Movies - all in their performance space downstairs? After all that, you'll need a Virginia Woolf (that's an espresso) from the snack bar, which is named A Different Bite. I'll take a Jodie Foster (that means anything decaf with skim milk).
Keep an eye on your fellow browsers: I've heard several tales of romances springing up in the stacks. The hottest spot seems to be the lesbian mystery section. So who knows what you'll come home with from your literary foray? Maybe a text on sensual massage and someone to practice it with on those aching feet...
A Different Light is open daily from 10AM to midnight (212-989-4850).