by Colleen McNamara, Asst. Sports Editor
After 13 years without one, Riverdale is finally getting a bookstore. Kirstie Reynoso-Miranda, a Bronx native, plans to open Miranda Writes Books and Bar by the end of this year.
Growing up in the area, Reynoso-Miranda believes it is the perfect location for her store since the Bronx is home to one and a half million people currently sharing one bookstore.
“I felt like my purpose was here, and I needed to figure that out in my own neighborhood,” she said. “…I hope [Miranda Writes Bookstore] will be a place for community, not just books. I hope it is a place for people to find friends with the same hobbies, a good book, and some sweet coffee or wine. A place to learn and meet new people.”
Reynoso-Miranda has been working in human resources and project management for the past decade, but has always dreamed of opening her own bookstore. She always figured she would get around to starting a project like this later in her life, but after seeing other people her age pursue similar asspirations, she moved up her timeline.
“My first job was in a library and I always loved being surrounded by books,” she said. “…One day I just decided to go for it. And [the global pandemic] gave me a push in the sense that you never know what is going to happen, so you’re always planning for later but might regret not doing something sooner.”
Miranda Writes Books and Bar will offer much more than reading material– Reynoso-Miranda plans to engage the community in a number of ways.
“That’s the most exciting part, is a number of different events, such as wine tastings, resume buildings, toasts, storytimes for kids, just to build a place that caters to everyone while maintaining some type of synergy.” Reynoso-Miranda said.
Sara Rodriguez, a current sophomore international studies major at Manhattan College is thrilled with a new location to continue her favorite hobby and hopes Miranda Writes Books and Bar is just the place for that.
“I love reading because especially in a quarantine COVID world, reading allows me to escape to distant lands that are either not real or are real that I just can’t get to at the moment,” Rodriguez wrote in an email to The Quadrangle. “…having a new bookstore in the area means I won’t have to go to large distances for new releases or if I need a break from school work, I can take a walk over to clear my head and just browse through titles!”
Adam Koehler, Ph.D is a professor of English at Manhattan College and author of Composition Creative Writing Studies, and the Digital Humanities, which covers what writing looks like in the internet age loves that books have a way of slowing down our fast-paced world.
“I like that books have a process that is slow, that they have to pass through a lot of hands before they’re published, that matters increasingly in a culture that is sped up,” Koehler said. “…the people who work at a bookstore have great knowledge about what they are selling, who you can talk to and the store reflects what is going on in the neighborhood; there are events, readings, it is a place to hangout.”
As a teenager, Koehler spent a lot of time in bookstores and was able to find a greater community; he met neighborhood writers and built a connection with them. He hopes Manhattan College students can find this home within Miranda Writes Bookstore.
Koehler hopes that the Riverdale, Bronx, and Manhattan College community visit Miranda Writes Books and Bar often.
“We should cherish the bookstore when it opens, and strive to keep it afloat,” he said. “Students better [take advantage of it], it should be fun, it should be a place that is an authentic part of students lives, and the bookstore looks like it will be that.”
Rodriguez will be sure to cherish the bookstore and incorporate it into her daily routine.
“It’s going to be a great, new safe space where I can go to relax when things at school start to get stressful,” she wrote. “Also if there’s seating it makes for a great new study space, when my dorm room and the library just are not cutting it!”
Reynoso-Miranda hopes to attract students like Rodriguez and other booklovers from our Manhattan College community.
“I hope my bookstore is full of Manhattan College students, for midterms and finals, if students need to take a break so that they can come and study at the bookstore,” Reynoso-Miranda said.
She is looking for a set location currently with plans to open by the end of the 2021 year and hire local community members to work for her.
“I think you have to go 100 percent to get 100 percent so I plan to put all my focus into this,” Reynoso-Miranda said.
The opening can not come soon enough for eager members of the community, and Koehler summed up how many community members are likely feeling about the store’s opening.
“If the Miranda Writes Books and Bar’s opening corresponds with the time that we are opening up as a city, we will all be hungry for the setting together in a bookstore talking about ideas and things that are important to us.” Koehler said.