Best kept secret in town – Brazenhead, the speakeasy library

It has been NY’s best kept secret for the past 8 years. It is difficult to describe Brazenhead properly: a bookstore? a speakeasy? a literary salon? a refuge for writers? This improvised bookstore hidden in an Upper East Side apartment is the most confidential literary rendez-vous in town. No sign, no label at the entrance. You can read about Brazenhead but none reveal its location. That’s the rule. Finding Brazenhead is something that has to be deserved!

Michael Seidenberg, the tenant of the apartment and of Brazenhead, used to have a bookstore Upper East Side. But rising rents in the neighborhood forced Michael to close in the early 90s. He decided to store all of his books in his pied-à-terre on 84th Street and organize “visits” by appointment only. But, above all, literary salons. Through word-of-mouth, an eclectic population (writers, literary enthusiasts, curiosity seekers, etc.) have started gathering at Brazenhead to discuss their latest literary discoveries and remake the world.

Brazenhead is a fantasy place, like stepping straight out of a scene from a Lewis Carroll novel. This small two-bedroom only contains books. The apartment has been rid of all its appliances. No kitchen, no bathroom. But books. Thousands of books. Everywhere. There is indeed an old stereo for the background music, an impressive pipes’ collection and a small bar in the middle of the room. But otherwise it’s just books, from floor-to-ceiling.

We hate to be the ones to break it to you but Brazenhead is closing. The landlord, who discovered that the apartment was used as a secret library, began eviction proceedings and Michael has until the beginning of July to vacate. It truly is the end of an era. Three literary gatherings before the closing: Tuesday June 30th, Thursday July 2 and Saturday July 4th. This is your last chance to see this emblematic place of the NY underground culture.
The address? We cannot publish it. But if you behave and write to us at, we might just send it to you…

Brazenhead bookstore
Upper East Side, somewhere on 84th street…
Contact us at to get the address!

Share This Story