John Scioli, the owner of the Community Bookstore, in Brooklyn, prepares to shutter a neighborhood institution.
Watch the video and say whether the statements below are true or false.
1 John Scioli has a bad reputation in the neighbourhood.
2 He knews where each book is.
3 Nobody knows how many books there are in the bookshop.
4 John Scioli is making a lot of money.
5 His second wife died in 2002.
6 John is turning 69 next month.
7 John is planning to open another bookshop.
8 He's planning to keep living in the same area.
I don't know if I'm allowed to curse on here, but the first impression was holy shit. It's like a cavern of books.
It's my first time in here. I've gone by this place several times in the past seven or eight years. I've never come in. And tonight, we had dinner across the street. The door was open, the lights were on, and this place is definitely incredible. It reminds me of my grandmother's basement.
What's up with this guy?
Wh… what is… like, what is this black hole of a hoarder's nest?
I… I don't know. I… I don't know if I could work through that, but whoever owns this… clearly, it works for them.
He has a compulsion, obviously.
Certainly not a neat freak.
I would imagine him to be a bit of a pack rat.
In my mind, it's somebody who lives somewhere in the building and, like, never leaves. That's what I want it to be.
He seems nice.
An eclectic man of the neighborhood. He's always extremely helpful.
Yeah, it's just a person who knows that, like, the place that we find ourselves is in literature. Even if it were better organized, it's kind of like, well, no, fuck it, like, let's just give them as much as we can possibly give them.
How do you find anything?
He knows where every book is, this guy.
"Man's Search for Meaning," Viktor…
All the way in the back. I might have a new one, a new paperback. I don't think I have a used one.
Take a look.
Yeah, I have one. I have a new one.
How many books do I think are in here?
Oh, this is like a jelly bean jar question?
Oh, my god, millions.
Infinite. There are an infinite amount of books in here.
This is like high-stakes Jenga in here.
You don't have to worry about knocking anything over, because it's going to happen.
Oh. I did not do that. I didn't even touch a book!
Sir, I'm telling you right now…
I didn't even touch a book.
No, OK, all right. That's all right.
I'm attached to it. Yeah. I love it and I hate it. It's a lot of work. It's a very difficult business, yeah. It gets harder and harder to make ends meet. You know, one year at a time. It's like… I came here in 1985. Then I met my second wife in about 1988. She helped a lot with the store. She passed away in 2002. It was hard just to live, not just to go on with the bookstore. She was like the opposite of me, because she was always straightening everything out. Now it's gotten to the point where even she couldn't straighten it out. It's just too much. It's too much work. I'm 69 years old. I just can't go on doing it. You can make a lot of money and kill yourself. And what good is that?
Every time I pass here, I think, I mean, I wonder how John's doing. I haven't seen him in so long.
I'm still half sane.
You have so many more books than even a couple years ago. This is amazing to me.
I sold the building, so…
Oh, you did?
Yeah, next May, I'm gonna close the store.
I have to close the store.
So is it gonna be like a… like a restaurant or something?
And I heard that it's somebody… the people who bought it own a Victoria's Secret or something in Herald Square, which is really sad. I find it really sad. I mean, it's sad to lose things like this, but I feel like it's more of a responsibility on the next generation to make things like this happen. We can't just expect them to, like, stick around forever.
Where do you see yourself going?
You mean to live?
Not as a bookstore. I wouldn't start another bookstore.
Perhaps eventually buy me a small apartment. But I'd like to stay in the neighborhood, because it's a wonderful neighborhood.
It's fun and then it's very difficult, too. So I just decided to stop.
Good for him. That's sad, though, for us.
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