Flood ‘Light’: Greenlight Bookstore reopens in PLG after burst pipe destroys hundreds of titles

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If only these books had raincoats instead of dust jackets!

A burst pipe flooded a beloved Prospect–Lefferts Gardens bookseller on Wednesday, forcing its owners to briefly close the store to take stock of more than 800 ruined titles. But a desperate rescue launched by Greenlight Bookstore’s staff — with a little help from New York’s Bravest — kept the flood story from reaching biblical proportions, and the shop reopened on Friday morning, one of its owners said.

“It could have been so much worse,” said Rebecca Fitting, who owns Greenlight with business partner Jessica Stockton Bagnulo. “We’re surprisingly cheerful.”

Employees are still taking inventory of the shop’s losses, but at least $10,000 worth of books drowned in the flood, which primarily occurred around the fiction and children’s book sections, the co-owner said.

Freezing temperatures on Wednesday caused the plumbing to explode, according to Fitting, who said that insurance-company investigators should know more this week about why pipes are rupturing inside their less-than-2-year-old storefront.

The now-soggy book store opened in Nov. 2016 on Flatbush Avenue between Fenimore and Hawthorne streets in a brand new space inside a 23-story luxury tower, and Fitting said she suspects kinks at the still-fresh site triggered the disaster.

“I feel like these kinds of things either happen in very new, or very old buildings,” the proprietor said.

The literature lovers will also soon find out whether their store suffered any structural damage, but the space doesn’t look torn up and, aside from some emptier shelves, customers shouldn’t notice much of a difference inside, Fitting said.

The owners hope to replace their lost titles in about two weeks if all goes smoothly on the insurance company’s end, and until then, customers can call (718) 246–0200 to find out if their favorite author survived the flood, or visit Greenlight’s Fort Greene location at 686 Fulton St., according to Fitting.

“The best thing we can hope for is that people come into either of our stores, and get some books for the cold weather,” she said.

Reach reporter Colin Mixson at or by calling (718) 260-4505.
Updated 5:50 pm, July 9, 2018
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Lydia from Dumbo says:
The Bridge highlights the movement of Brooklyn's niche retail culture into fragrance:
Jan. 8, 10:08 am

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