Back Bay

Old Friends
-page 3 Albright-

Robert Birnbaum, a customer who has been coming into Avenue Victor Hugo Bookshop since the mid to late 1970s and the editor-in-chief of, said it was going to be sad to see the bookshop close its doors for the last time. But he added earnestly, “I am mostly concerned about Vincent.”

Blue Bart takes a cat nap among the good company of authors.

As Birnbaum entered the Avenue Victor Hugo Bookshop, he was greeted with a familiar hello. He was accompanied by his literature partner, Rosie, Birnbaum’s Golden Retriever. After all the Victor Hugo employees greeted Rosie, she headed to the second floor by herself to smell what books were in the stacks and to see if she could find Blue Bart, the store’s cat who lives there and is a fixture of the bookshop.

“Is that the security guard?” I asked about Blue Bart.

“No it’s the real owner,” said an employee with a smile.

Blue Bart frequently travels up and down the two floors of the bookshop mingling with customers. He can be found sunning himself in the front window among the company of some of his favorite authors or in the arms of a customer.

After all the times that Rosie has been in the store, Blue Bart remains waryof her presence. Blue Bart stays out of sight from Rosie but never lets her out of his.

Most stores on Newbury Street make customers leave their dogs on the sidewalk.

Some of Newbury Street’s chain stores are visible from the Avenue Victor Hugo’s front view.

“I know what I am going to find in new bookstores,” said Birnbaum, referring to the mega bookstores emphasis on bestsellers and selling newly bound books.

“[The Avenue Victor Hugo Bookshop] is special because of the idea of finding a first edition of James Allen McPherson.” McPherson is a 1978 Pulitzer Prize winning author of the Elbow Room, a collection of short stories, which tells of characters in desperate situations.

-page 4 Moving online-


Article 1

Back Bay’s changing storefronts

  -In every city
-A community for tourists?

Article 2

Back Bay loses a treasured bookstore


-Closing in

-Old friends

-Moving online
-A quote from Vincent


Avenue Victor Hugo Bookshop

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