San Francisco, CA 94133
Region: North Beach/ Chinatown
For a great American bookstore, 60 seems young. Like: Oh, is that all? We've sorta started thinking City Lights, that shining beacon of the Broadway-Columbus crossroads, first turned on by poet-publisher-wizard Lawrence Ferlinghetti in 1953, actually had been here forever. It may yet be. It should be. Of course, there has been deliberation about how best to continue, and some enjoyable irony in the idea of this institution, once a vanguard outpost, now seeming like some sort of chic retro throwback and world-famous bookhound mecca besides. But City Lights endures on principle: Literature not as a product but as a way. Which should make for one hell of a 60th birthday party as the store becomes an open house this afternoon, spilling over with readings, live music, archival footage, enlightened reminiscence, and all manner of birthday felicitations. Here's ours, old friend: You don't look a day over immortal.