Paging a new hot spot

If there’s one thing we at WAG love, love, love, it’s a good bookstore. We practically lived at Borders in White Plains and Eastchester (the latter occupying the site of the old Alex & Henry’s, where Westchester County’s political elite rubbed elbows with Yankee greats Joe DiMaggio, Phil Rizzuto and Billy Martin and legendary Knick Walt “Clyde” Frazier). When the Borders stores closed, we sincerely mourned their passing.

So you can imagine that we were champing at the bit when Barnes & Noble announced a new concept store/restaurant to occupy the old Borders/Alex & Henry’s site in Easchester’s Vernon Hills Shopping Center. The store has its official opening Friday, Dec. 2 and Saturday, Dec. 3 with local authors Mara and Matt VanFleet and Alyssa Capucilli, face painting, costume character appearances, bocce demonstrations and live music. But the new 22,000-square-foot B & N and the 2,600-square-foot Barnes & Noble Kitchen had their “soft” opening Nov. 22, with WAG getting a sneak peek the day before.

What can we say after we say we’re already in bibliophilic heaven? This is not your daddy’s B & N. The new Barnes & Noble is upscale and up-to-date with a sleek, airy design, user-friendly categories like teen and books-to-movies and self-serve kiosks. There are no DVDs and discount books. (There are some CDs and vinyl records.) But no one seemed to mind on a recent Saturday. They were too busy browsing and lounging, checking out the gift and stationery section conveniently located to the left of the entrance and the cheery, spacious children’s section or playing bocce in the courtyard that includes fountains and a fire pit.

Or they were thronging to the Kitchen, which has a coffee bar, lounge and restaurant seating where the fare ranges from generous comfort food like the tomato soup and grilled cheese combo to the savory chopped vegetable salad that we sampled. Of course, feeling virtuous after our salad, we just had to have a (skim) decaf latte and take home some cinnamon-y Monkey Bread.

Consider this B & N our new home away from home – and we know we’ll see you there.

For more, call 914-472-0689 or visit bn.com. – Georgette Gouveia

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