Local bookstore celebrates one-year anniversary

A Google Maps screenshot of the Brooklyn bookstore, Taylor and Co. Books, storefront in March 2023 when it opened.

The new local bookstore in Brooklyn, Taylor and Co. Books, owned by Andrew Colarusso, is celebrating its one-year anniversary this month.

As he was putting together the business plan, he was concerned that nobody would come into the bookstore.

“I’m extremely proud of the bookstore and the influence it’s had in its first year. It’s been remarkable. Community support has been more generous and loving than I ever imagined,” he said.

Colarusso grew up in the Brooklyn neighborhood of Ditmas Park. Something surprising about him and his family is that other than books, they love movies.

“My dad has a near encyclopedic knowledge of actors, films, and directors — and it’s a passion (and joy) we all seem to share. We’re a very literary family (we love books) — but we’re not-so-secret film nerds too,” said Colarusso.

For Colarusso, the biggest influence on him has been his mother, Nancy Sanchez-Taylor.  She is among the first group of young women to go to Stuyvesant High School (after they became co-ed).

“She has encouraged me every step of the way. She is an effortlessly brilliant lady who is not afraid to roll up her sleeves and do the hard work, but she is also a dreamer and a crafter. She has always loved art and making things and this special gift she passed along to her children,” he added.

Colarusso’s mother is Puerto Rican and he grew up “where the nuances of anglophone patois, Caribbean Spanish, and Haitian Kreyol were not lost on me,” he stated.

Colarusso believes the bookstore’s biggest success is every new day. “Every new day brings a new opportunity to witness beauty, to share and be kind, to act on behalf of and in defense of others who are in need.”

He loves all the events hosted there, as much as those invited to read or perform at them.  “I especially enjoy our birdwalks. On our birdwalks, I get to follow along and enjoy the ride (as an amateur birdwatcher),” he stated.

In this first year of running the bookstore, some of Colarusso’s favorite moments were when people met at events, finding things in common with each other.

“Some new friendships have developed here. And some old connections have blossomed again, not knowing they’d encounter the other in our small and serendipitous space,” he continued.

According to Colarusso, the short term goal for the bookstore is to stay in business and avoid debt, while the long term goal is to give back to the community that raised him.

He sees book bans, which have been happening more often now, as terrifying, but not unprecedented. “Our neighborhood is pretty left-leaning. Our neighborhood is also exceptionally literate and cares.”

He also emphasized: “But we’re not immune to the fear these book bans seem to originate in — and if we’re not active in pushing back against them, we’ll be raising (and dealing with) a generation of young people who haven’t been exposed to important texts, lessons, ideas. That doesn’t bode well for a planet already in peril,” he added.

Colarusso said regarding the bookstore, those who know, know, and those who don’t, don’t have to. “All are welcome here, and of course I want people to buy all our books and come to all of our readings and throw all the dollars our way. But that’s really not what this is about. What we offer is a third space, away from home and work, where people can share, discover (themselves and others), and remain in dialogue,” he stated.

The bookstore has many more readings and events. Colarusso wants to connect with more schools, teachers, and local businesses, such as Ms. Carmen Sinclair’s Creations Hair Salon at 370 E 17th St.

“When communication dies, so do the best parts of humanity. So come to the store, pick up a book (or not), and say hi. We’d love to meet you.”

As an owner, Colarusso “would like the shop to be a sustainable source for books, community, and connection.”

“The beauty of home, conceptually, is not necessarily that you have several across the globe. Rather, the concept of home for me is one of roots and rootedness. I’ve felt rootless for a very long time and I’d like Taylor & Co. to be my root, my home — and a home that the community also feels, palpably, is a home away from home,” Colarusso added.

Those interested in staying updated can follow the bookstore on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/taylorcobooks and for those who want to support the bookstore, they can purchase books in person at 1021 Cortelyou Rd. Books can also be purchased online by visiting: https://bookshop.org/shop/taylorcobooks.

Those interested can also support Taylor and Co. Books by making a donation to its current fundraiser, in honor of its one-year anniversary, here: https://fundly.com/taylor-co-here-to-stay#home