Dunwoody resident Cliff Graubart moved the Old New York Bookstore to its current location in 1997. He turned his freestanding general bookstore into an online business.
“It made more sense,” Graubart said. “This allowed me to cut costs and go with the times since the Internet is becoming the place to look for rare books.”
The bookstore opened its doors in 1971, on Piedmont Avenue. It then moved three years later to Juniper Street.
Before becoming solely an online business, the bookstore hosted author signing nights. Graubart said these were mainly the idea of author Pat Conroy. Nevertheless, Graubart was inspired and decided to take his love for books and began to write. He started to write for Atlanta Magazine, Atlanta Gazette and other publications.
After writing for these magazines, Graubart crafted a previous idea of his about a Jewish boy who had a vision of Jesus in his recently finished book “The Curious Vision of Sammy Levitt and Other Stories.”
He drew inspiration for the lead character from his own life. Graubart has always been fascinated by the relationship between Jews and Christians, and also Christians who have visions of either Jesus or the Virgin Mary.
In the book, Sammy Levitt is about to have his bar mitzvah and sees a vision of Jesus on his rabbi’s door. Graubart said he originally intended this scenario to be a comedy, but instead it turned into something more serious.
“As I wrote it, it was not that funny,” Graubart said. “Coming of age stories are just relevant, and people identify with them because everyone comes of age at some point.”
Graubart, who is Jewish, thought the subject was interesting since he said Jews do not have visions. He wanted to write about how Jews navigate the world and how they fit or do not fit in.
His wife, Cynthia, also writes and has written four cookbooks. Recently she won the James Beard Award for co-authoring “Mastering the Art of Southern Cooking” with Nathalie Dupree.
To find the Old New York bookstore online visit www.alibris.com or www.abebooks.com.