Marga

NYC's The Ballet Shop selling its autograph book to highest bidder

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This unique auction ends today just before 3 PM PDT (6 PM New York time). If you have a couple of thousand dollars to spare, you may want to bid. :sweatingbullets:

If not, the description for the item and the accompanying photographs (one is of Nureyev with some kind of scooter/bike standing outside The Ballet Shop) are very interesting.

I miss The Ballet Shop. It was always on my agenda whenever I went to Lincoln Center. Then one day I saw that it didn't exist anymore and became quite sad. That tiny place was a hub of balletdom with wonderful books and artifacts. It was a nice place for ballerina sightings, too!

Ballet Shop autograph book on ebay

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The book hasn't sold yet. They reduced the reserve but it still hasn't been met.

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The book hasn't sold yet. They reduced the reserve but it still hasn't been met.

If you follow the link it says the bidding has ended. Does that mean the book sold or that the time just ran out and no one met the reserve?

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If it is ended and the reserve is still not met, it didn't sell .. on eBay.

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Does anybody remember the Pollacks and their wonderful old bookstore? It was just around the corner on 6th Ave. from City Center. Ballet books and photos and good conversations. They knew everybody in the ballet world and were happy to provide hours of (free) conversation with their clientele, and Mrs. P. would be all too happy to go into the back and make coffee or tea (with maybe a little nosh) if you had been there for a while.

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Does anybody remember the Pollacks and their wonderful old bookstore? It was just around the corner on 6th Ave. from City Center.

I remember it as Sally Kamins bookshop. I spent lots of time and m oney there---I usually bought my books on the installment plan---I would drop off a dollar a week until the book was paid....and about 25 years ago I sold most of it to the Ballet Shop...

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ah, while i patronized the Pollacks' store and the Ballet Shop, my only sense of the Kamin shop previously came only from the little "Kamin Books" stickers on the inside covers of books on my shelves. now, if i read this correctly, i see that the Kamin shop was taken over by the Pollacks and so partonizing them meant 'visiting' the site of the Kamin shop.

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Yes, that's right! I still have a couple of those books with the Kamin sticker, and one with a "Ziegfeld Books" sticker, too. The place was a gathering-place for working dancers and students, and the kaffeeklatsch sometimes spilled onto the sidewalk, with a lot of shop talk, and trading of tickets and such. I don't know that even The Ballet Shop provided such a family retreat for dancers as did that tiny old bookstore.

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I have fond memories of The Ballet Shop and the ultra-entertaining guys at the check-out desk (Tobi et al). They knew it all! One could say that they were the 1980s and early-90s equivalent of BalletTalk.com!

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The only thing The Ballet Shop and Ballet Talk lack is Mrs. Pollack coming out onto the sidewalk with a teapot and a coffeepot, "Let me warm it up for you." And the occasional plate of macaroons. "They're just tiny, not much calories." It was the old-fashioned "mom-and-pop" ambience that you don't see much anywhere, anymore. And I was learning in school of Dr. Samuel Johnson's convivial public salons held at his favorite coffeehouse; I recognized the parallel immediately.

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If The Ballet Shop was the shop on Broadway, south of Lincoln Center, my lasting memory is not-so-nice. When Lynn Seymour's autobiography came out and was only available in England, I ordered a copy from the shop. I called every three of months to see if it was in -- they asked me to check-- and one day I stopped by. I spied a copy on the shelf, and when I tried to pay for it, one of the men who worked there snatched it out of my hands and held it to his chest like a baby that I was trying to abuse, and said very haughtily, "This copy is reserved." That was the last time I set foot in that shop, and I've never regretted it.

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At one of the Part-Gomes Beautys at ABT, a gentleman tapped my shoulder and asked, "Do you remember me?" It was Joe, whom I hadn't seen since he'd left what the owners thought would be a reincarnation of the Ballet Shop. He looked great -- just the same, but bald and a few not-unbecoming pounds heavier.

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....one of the men who worked there snatched it out of my hands and held it to his chest like a baby that I was trying to abuse, and said very haughtily, "This copy is reserved." ....

Oh dear. Well, I don't doubt your horrible story for a moment, Helene. I know of other folks who had similar experiences with one of the fellas in particular (not Joe, who was quiet & very kind). As I said, it was a microcosm of today's BalletTalk - people who feel very passionate about the art of ballet and, sometimes, let their emotions get the best of them. :) For example, as I was quietly looking at books, one of 'the fellas' bawled-out a group of Argentine middle-aged ladies who had traveled to NY especially to see Bocca at ABT. One of the poor ladies made the mistake of stating 'I think that Bocca is better than Mr. XXX'...who happened to be the favorite of the guy-in-question, who blasted from behind the counter: "Madam, you are an ignoramus of the highest order!" The ladies quickly scuttled out of the shop without making a purchase. I & other customers felt like crawling under a table.

One thing is for sure -- it was NEVER boring to visit the shop.

Edited to add: Although The Ballet Shop was a microcosm of BalletTalk, it lacked moderators...which it could have used every now & them.

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Wow, The Ballet Shop seems like my kind of heaven on earth. If only I had one of those in the neighborhood, :thumbsup: it would be time (and money) well spent.

They don't have anything like that anymore, do they?

In London, actually, they have the ISTD library of used ballet books at a low price (in which I bought an exorbitant amount).

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ah, while i patronized the Pollacks' store and the Ballet Shop, my only sense of the Kamin shop previously came only from the little "Kamin Books" stickers on the inside covers of books on my shelves. now, if i read this correctly, i see that the Kamin shop was taken over by the Pollacks and so partonizing them meant 'visiting' the site of the Kamin shop.

For those who did not know her, Sally Kamin was one of the most elegant women I have known. She was always impeccably dressed and made-up. Gracious is the word that comes to mind. Whenever we would ask who was her favorite dancer she would always say Uday Shankar.

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To those speaking of Ziegfeld Book Shop, Sam and Bertha Pollack were my grandparents. Some of my fondest memories are coming to spend school vacations working in the shop. At 5 years old I was ringing up sales at the cash register while dancers from ABT perused books and still photos of other dancers. My grandparents, especially my grandmother, loved the dancers. "American Mama and Papa" they were called by dancers visiting from other countries. To be introduced to so many wonderful artists at such a young age was incredible. I have autographed practice point shoes from Carla Fracci. Met Nureyev and Margot Fontaine. I always described the store as a book shop that specialized in dance. It was my grandmother's pride and joy. Thank you for sharing your warm memories.

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ooooh, please stay a while and tell us stories! We'll fix up some tea and tiny macaroons for you, linawil!!

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What she said! How did your grandparents come to be in the book business, and particularly that specialized corner of it?

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I spoke with my older brother who had more of a memory of the whys of Ziegfeld Bookshop. I've always wondered about the name since I knew the shop to be @ 910 Seventh Ave between 57th and 58th streets. My brother shared that the shop was originally across or next to the original Ziegfeld Theater on 6th Avenue. The store, my grandparents' apartment, and the theater were torn down when the Sheraton was built. (My research seems to show this occurring near 1969.)

As far as how the store began, apparently my grandfather had lost his job as an accountant and they needed to do something to get by. They acquired the shop and began more as a Hallmark-like card shop. They would travel to lower Broadway to the secondhand book stores like Strands and search for finds. My brother remembers hearing that they would buy a book for 25 cents and then sell it for something like $4. Where the buyer would feel they were not paying enough for the books, my grandmother knew she had made a good profit. The book section was built from there.

As far as the Kamin book stickers, it seems my grandparents bought their stock and also ran a lending library. Both my brother and I can picture the shop on 7th Ave.'s layout with an alcove used to house dance books, and the lending library toward the back of the shop. Walls of greeting card displays that I recall inventorying with shelves of chotskies and other items above the card racks. We're still trying to figure out how the boxes of black and white 8 x 10 photos came to be. We have strong memories of looking through them as well as seeing dancers spend hours looking at them.

The dance specialization came directly from my grandmother being enamored by the dance. She loved everything about that world.

I have a call into my uncle to see if he can fill in some of the blanks (and make sure my brother's memories are accurate). I truly would appreciate any other memories that you have to share.

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Fascinating stuff -- please do let us know if your uncle has anything to add!

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We're actually hoping to find photos of the storefront or even inside the store if anyone runs across one. There's also an apparent recorded interview that my grandmother gave to a radio program "World of Dance" in 1967. It includes interviews with "Merle Lister, Erick Hawkins, and Bertha Pollack, 1967" and is apparently held at the Jerome Robbins Dance Division at the Library of Performing Arts. I've been in contact with an archivist who believes it was digitalized and that I will be be able to have it. It is supposed be approximately 7 minutes in length: Alvin H. Reiss, host on the radio program World of Dance, introduces his guest Bertha Pollack, a specialist seller of dance books, at her store Ziegfield Bookshop in New York City; Pollack speaks about her business including her specialization in ballet; her customers; and books she would like to have available [concluding remarks of Reiss; announcements made by Horosko; music and closing remarks by unidentified male]. Hopefully this will add some more light, directly from the source.

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