The Bronx’s 1.5 million residents have been left without a single general interest bookstore after Baychester’s Barnes & Noble shut down at the end of 2016, but Soundview native Noëlle Santos is putting her indie bookstore dreams in motion at a time the borough needs it most.
Duly crowned The Lit. Bar, Santos’ brick-and-mortar is well underway. The Afro-Boricua bookseller took home a prize of $7,500 after placing second in New York Public Library’s New York StartUP! Business Plan Competition, ahead of topping sales at the Bronx Museum Holiday Market last year.
Now, she seeks to raise one third of the funds needed to complete her vision of promoting book clubs, poetry slams and game nights at her bookshop, which aims to bring kiddie lit, multilingual reads and a bar to one spot in the effort to curate a “chic and comfortable” atmosphere.
“Lit like literature, lit like drunk,” Santos says in a spoken word piece dedicated to her Indiegogo campaign. “Lit with passion to kill stigmas overdue to be debunked and prove once again that the Bronx keeps creating it, and we are worthy, that we are more than just sneaker stores, and we support the arts.”
Comically yet truthfully noting that the Bronx gave the world “hip hop, salsa, JLo, Justice Sonia Sotomayor, and Batman,” The Lit. Bar founder stresses that her future bookstore won’t be in vain as it ultimately invests in fortifying a literary community on the verge of fading away. “I stand here today, and ask you to open your hearts and help us show the world what many fail to see, that the Bronx is no longer burning, except with desire to read.”
Learn more about The Lit. Bar, and donate here.