Dreaming of an idyllic space where you can indulge in a glass of wine (or beer) in one hand, a book in the other, all in the company of like-minded literary aficionados under an amazing backdrop of books?
Wake up and stop dreaming. One local resident has made this all a reality with her bookstore bar pop-up, Avoid The Day, where she will be serving up a languid cafe-like atmosphere and intimate space, where folks can grab a glass of wine or beer and read, buy a book or two and engage with each other, here in Rockaway.
Avoid The Day is the brainchild of Arverne resident, Jianna Heuer, a clinical social worker and psychotherapist with a background in publishing, whose dream was to one day own a bookstore bar.
“My husband, Jason and I are huge book enthusiasts and of course, wine! After visiting similar establishments such as Lit Bar in the Bronx and the BookBar in Denver, Colorado, I was hooked and dreamed of one day owning my own,” Heuer said.
The Heuers bought their first home in Rockaway last September. (See the Heuer’s profile, “Art of Becoming Local,” in The Rockaway Times 2017 Summer Guide on page 80). After exploring the community and “getting the sand between their toes,” Heuer was convinced that Rockaway was the perfect location for her beloved book bar.
However, according to Heuer, now that she settled on opening her book bar in Rockaway, the baffling question was how?
“Though a brick-and-mortar book bar is my ultimate goal, I thought maybe it would be best to test the waters to see how it would be received in the community. Jason and I bounced around the idea of a book truck, but we immediately dismissed that because the logistics would be difficult to maneuver.
“After joining the Ladies of Business Rockaway Beach (LBRB), at a March meeting, I brought up my book bar idea and was overwhelmed by the encouragement I received. One member in particular, Rosa Stychek, offered to help with the business plan and together we made it happen! I settled on the idea of a pop-up, and after months of work, on June 12, we finally made it down to the Queens courthouse to apply for my business certificate, and Avoid The Day Pop-Up Book Bar became official!” Heuer said.
According to Heuer, Avoid The Day is a multi-purpose space where locals can buy books for less than the cost of a beer, attend book readings of local authors, and engage in community activities for both children and adults.
The book bar’s name, “Avoid The Day” came from an accidental text. Heuer said, “What was meant to read, “Have a good day,” autocorrected to “Avoid the day.” Jason and I loved this, as we were both headed to work and didn’t want to go, and the name stuck. Avoid the day with a book, a drink, a coffee, an activity, or at the beach. Avoid the Day in Rockaway!”
The first pop-up will be on Sunday, July 16 from 12 p.m. to 6 p.m. at NurtureUWellness (165 Beach 116th Street, 2nd Fl.). Scheduled activities include local photographer, Cheryl Scanlan’s presentation and sale of her new photo book, “Public Art II,” showcasing more than 40 images of public art in Rockaway; Therapeutic Coloring Time for children and adults, and Children’s Storytime featuring book, “The Book With No Pictures,” by B.J. Novak. There will also be one at RAA’s Wordwaves on Friday, August 4, and one at Rockaway Brewing Company on Sunday, August 13.
“I want Avoid the Day to be a meeting place for everyone in the community. For less than the price of a beer, folks can buy a book, let loose creatively in a fun activity and support local artists,” Heuer said.