No, that typewriter in the window of the West Side Book Shop is not some kind of ironic art installation mocking our obsession with digital technology. It’s really for sale–and there are lots more of them inside.
Doug Price, who deals antique photographs in the backroom of Jay Platt’s beautiful old-world used bookstore, started collecting manual typewriters about twenty-five years ago, and late last year he began selling them. “They range from pre-World War I models to the 1960s, priced from $85 to $175,” he says. He describes the Liberty Street shop as “a Harry Potter type of environment,” and he says the kind of dreamy, imaginative kids who follow Potter are his best customers. Price reels them in by showing them how easily they can make business cards on a typewriter–though, of course, just one at a time.