New York

Fred Bass, Owner of NYC's Iconic Strand Bookstore, Dies at 89

What to Know

  • Fred Bass spent nearly 80 years work at the Strand Bookstore in Manhattan
  • The Strand was founded by Bass' father and survived the Great Depression, going on to become NYC's most famous bookstore
  • Bass' daughter, Nancy Bass Wyden, co-owned and managed the store with her father; she will continue to oversee operations

The owner of New York’s famed Strand Bookstore has died, according to an obituary posted online.

Fred Bass died Wednesday morning at the age of 89, the obituary in Publishers Weekly says.

Bass was a New York native whose father started the iconic bookstore in 1927. The shop went on to become the most famous bookstore in modern day New York -- instantly recognizable to the legions of city dwellers who have filled its narrow corridors stacked with “18 miles of books.”

“Fred spent 77 years doing what he loved most – working at the buying desk, finding the miles and miles of used books that Strand is built on,” the Strand website says.

According to the site, Bass co-owned and managed the store with his daughter, Nancy Bass Wyden, for more than 30 years. Wyden will continue to oversee operations now that her father has died, according to the obituary.

“He never had an office and loved when customers told him they enjoyed ‘getting lost in the stacks,’” Wyden said in a quote on the Strand site. “He spent all of his time behind his buying desk, eager to see what treasures would come across it. He felt working with books was the best job in the world.”

According to the obituary, Strand is the only surviving bookstore on a stretch of Fourth Avenue that was known as “Book Row” in the mid-20th century. In addition to its location near Union Square, it operates kiosks around the city, including one in Central Park.

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