Formerly in the empty brick arcades of the Grand Central Building basement is the Ars Obscure Bookbinding and Restoration Company. Inside the small shop, the centuries-old profession of bookbinding is alive and well.
The operation is festooned with hanging leathers, excitingly chunky metal presses, and a host of other equipment that hail from a distant time and place outside the quotidian and modern. If you’re lucky, the quiet owner may be in and working. A small selection of notebooks and other handbound items are for sale, but the shop also specializes in restoring and binding historical works and grimoires. Also, there is almost always a bouquet of free, magnificently marbled paper bookmarkers for visitors.
Know Before You Go
The shop has moved; the Grand Central Arcade building is no longer open to the public. There is no entry from Occidental Square; the new location is two blocks away. Entrance by appointment only.
The shop owner still provides restoration services, but they are held in a common area in the entryway of the building, and patrons no longer get to experience the bookbinding shop itself.