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Books Are Magic, famed Cobble Hill bookstore, to open Montague St. branch

Owner attracted by beautiful buildings… and croissants

July 27, 2022 Brooklyn Eagle Staff
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Montague Street in Brooklyn Heights is turning into a literary destination: First, Brooklyn Poets, a new poetry salon and workshop space, opened last Saturday at 144 Montague. And now, the well-known Cobble Hill bookstore Books Are Magic has announced that it is planning to open a second store in October at 122 Montague St.

“Big news!” read the bookstore’s announcement on Twitter. “We’ve been dying to spill the beans about our second location, and we couldn’t hold it in anymore: Books Are Magic is coming to Montague Street in Brooklyn Heights this fall!”

The location was formerly occupied by Housing Works and Fishs Eddy.

The store’s Cobble Hill location, at the corner of Butler Street, opened in 2017. In an article published in the Eagle at the time, co-owner Emma Straub, whose published novels include “Modern Lovers,” “The Vacationers” “Laura Lamont’s Life in Pictures” and “All Adults Here,” was disheartened by the then-recent closings of independent bookstores BookCourt and the Community Bookstore.

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Emma Straub reading at “Books Beneath the Bridge,” sponsored by the Brooklyn Bridge Park Conservancy, in Brooklyn Bridge Park in 2014.
Photo by Julienne Schaer

She told residents that she would open her own independent bookstore and make the neighborhood “positively coated in bookish fairydust for decades to come.” Soon afterward, she and her husband Michael Fusco-Straub opened the Cobble Hill Books Are Magic at 225 Smith St.

As far as the Montague Street store-to-be is concerned, the couple told Brooklyn Magazine that they were attracted to the area because of “the beautiful buildings, the empty storefronts, and now, the croissants [apparently a reference to L’Appartement 4F, a French bakery that opened recently].”

“We can’t wait to open our doors this fall, and take you back to the days of Cousin Arthur’s and Our Mutual Friend [two beloved Brooklyn Heights bookstores of yesteryear], and to bring an independent bookstore back to Montague Street,” they said in the same statement. Both of the erstwhile bookstores they mentioned were owned by Robert Joseph Tramonte, who died in the last 1990s, and his wife, Barbara Tramonte.

The Cobble Hill location of Books Are Magic is known for its events and readings as well as its books. Its website lists 12 readings and appearances by authors in the month of August alone.

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