New York

This New Bookstore Definitely Sells Your End-of-Summer, Steamy Beach Read

In fact, Brooklyn's The Ripped Bodice ONLY sells romance novels.

Photo by Megan Kantor
Photo by Megan Kantor
Photo by Megan Kantor

Just peep book covers on the beach or scroll through Goodreads, and you’ll quickly find out that romance novels are having a moment. Perhaps something about summertime makes people yearn for the kind of swoon-worthy daydreaming that only a light-hearted romance can provide. With Labor Day around the corner (and is that the sun setting at 7:30 pm now?) though, there are only so many afternoons left where you can curl up in the sun and read. So if you need help choosing your last steamy beach read of the summer head to Brooklyn’s recently opened, romance-only bookstore, The Ripped Bodice.

A passion project from sisters Leah and Bea Koch, The Ripped Bodice started as a Kickstarter campaign which raised a whopping $90,000. With the necessary funds, the Koch sisters debuted their first brick-and-mortar bookstore (that claimed the title as the first romance-only bookstore in the United States) in Los Angeles on March 4, 2016.

Photo by Megan Kantor
Photo by Megan Kantor
Photo by Megan Kantor

“My sister and I opened the store mainly because there wasn’t one,” recounts Leah Koch. “Both of us are lifelong romance readers, since around age twelve-ish, and we really just connected with the genre. We genuinely believe that [this kind of bookstore] already existed and we just didn’t know about it, which turned out to not be the case.” Upon opening, The Ripped Bodice was met with adoration from the local romance community. Owner Leah Koch says, “The reaction was overwhelmingly positive. Being really specific and niche, set us apart and allowed us to be successful.”

Following their West Coast hit, the Koch sisters have now brought the bubblegum pink exterior to the Park Slope neighborhood. Within the whimsical store, customers can peruse a wide range of romance novels separated into sub-genres like contemporary, LGBTQ+, science fiction, historical, erotica, and young adult.

Photo by Megan Kantor
Photo by Megan Kantor
Photo by Megan Kantor

When it comes to the popularity of the novels they sell, Leah explains, “Romance is the genre of joy and hope. It brings people a lot of comfort. I think one of the more misunderstood things about romance [books] is that you know what’s going to happen-because you are guaranteed a happily ever after. But, I think that for most people that’s not a deterrent. In fact, that’s the thing that makes it reassuring to them. You know that it’s going to turn out okay.”

The Ripped Bodice also hosts a collection of on-site events from book launches and discussion panels to readings and book club meetups-some of which have already begun to sell out. If you can’t make it into the store, customers can also sign up for the Read, Romance, Repeat subscription boxes, which include two adult romance novels plus a knick knack like a candle or keychain.The Koch sisters also aim to improve the diversity and inclusion of the romance genre. Spearheaded by Leah, The Ripped Bodice State of Racial Diversity in Romance Report is an annual finding that tracks the percentage of books published by BIPOC authors. “There has been tremendous advocacy behind this for decades,” says Leah. “I wanted to find something new that I could contribute, so then came the hard data. This is another tool for authors to use to say, ‚ÄėHey, look how serious of a problem this is.'”

Photo by Megan Kantor
Photo by Megan Kantor
Photo by Megan Kantor

For an expert opinion on what your end-of-summer steamy read should be, we obviously went straight to the source. “My Roommate is a Vampire by Jenna Levine comes out this Tuesday,” Leah divulges. “I love a title that just tells you exactly what it is. It’s really clever and tongue-in-cheek and funny. I enjoy paranormal stuff that doesn’t take itself too seriously.” And in case you’re a fast reader, “Another one I recommend is called Sammy Espinoza’s Last Review by Tehlor Kay Mejia. She’s a music critic, he’s a famous rockstar who has sort of disappeared from public life, and they have a past from high school. It felt very nostalgic to me. Oh, and, of course, it has great romance.”

Who are we kidding, we’re keeping this romance-high riding right into fall.

The Ripped Bodice is now open at 218 5th Avenue in Brooklyn.Want more Thrillist? Follow us on Instagram, TikTok, Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, and YouTube.

Izzy Baskette is the New York City Staff Writer for Thrillist. Talk to her at [email protected] or find her on Instagram.

New York

Scavenge for Peeps Cookies and More Fun Treats in NYC This Easter

The best Easter desserts in NYC this spring include Easter Bunny Churros and Carrot Cake Macarons.

Photo courtesy of Funny Face Bakery
Photo courtesy of Funny Face Bakery
Photo courtesy of Funny Face Bakery

As spring makes its way through New York City, not only do we get to enjoy beautiful weather, stunning cherry blossoms, and cool activities priced at $Free.99, but it’s also the perfect time for some limited-edition desserts.

With Easter fast approaching, bakeries are filling their shops with tons of chocolate eggs, carrot cake-flavoured everything and all types of flavours that offer both nostalgia and innovation within the city’s dessert landscape. After you’ve picked up a cake from the city’s best new bakeries, from Easter Bunny Churros to Carrot Cake Macarons, here are 8 Easter desserts to try in NYC right now.

Photo courtesy of Magnolia Bakery
Photo courtesy of Magnolia Bakery
Photo courtesy of Magnolia Bakery

Magnolia Bakery

Throughout April
Various locations
There’s great news for devotees of Magnolia Bakery’s Classic Banana Pudding: For Easter, the spot is mixing up the iconic dessert’s vanilla pudding with some carrot cake. The Carrot Cake Pudding is filled with freshly grated carrots, coconuts, pineapples, raisins, and walnuts. And if both bananas and carrots aren’t your thing, they’ll be offering their Classic Vanilla Cupcakes in pastel colours with a Cadbury chocolate egg hidden inside.

Photo courtesy of Funny Face Bakery
Photo courtesy of Funny Face Bakery
Photo courtesy of Funny Face Bakery

Funny Face Bakery

Through Easter Sunday
NoHo and Seaport
Known for their celebrity face and meme-worthy decorated cookies, fans of Funny Face Bakery know that a new fun design is always just around the corner. For Easter, they’ve created the adorable Hoppy Easter decorated cookie that resembles a classic box of marshmallow Peeps. Along with that, they also have the return of their fan-favourite Caramel Pretzel Chip cookie flavour, plus a set of three mini-decorated cookies perfect for gifting.

The Doughnut Project

Friday, April 7 through Easter Sunday
West Village
With the ever-changing flavours at The Doughnut Project, it’s super easy to miss out on trying out a new debut. But this Easter weekend, there will be two new flavours available. One is of course, a carrot cake doughnut topped with a cream cheese glaze, and the other is known as the Doughnut Nest-a French cruller “nest” with a cream-filled doughnut hole “egg” in the centre.

Photo by Cole Saladino, courtesy of The Fragile Flour
Photo by Cole Saladino, courtesy of The Fragile Flour
Photo by Cole Saladino, courtesy of The Fragile Flour

The Fragile Flour

Wednesday, April 5 through Easter Sunday
East Village
For stellar vegan desserts this holiday, head to The Fragile Flour, a plant-based bakery and dessert wine bar. They’re known for going all out for each holiday with a variety of new pastry options that you can pair perfectly with a glass of wine. This Easter, they’ll have a whole dessert menu that’s both delicious and gorgeous for posting on IG. The menu includes Stuffed Carrot Cake Cookies, a Lemon Cake (whole or by the slice), some festive cupcakes, and specialty macarons.

Photo courtesy of Kreuther Handcrafted Chocolate
Photo courtesy of Kreuther Handcrafted Chocolate
Photo courtesy of Kreuther Handcrafted Chocolate

Kreuther Handcrafted Chocolate

Through mid April
Midtown
For a luxurious take on Easter chocolates, browse the selections available at Kreuther Handcrafted Chocolate. You can even pick the Easter Signature Chef’s Selection for a special box curated by award-winning chefs. For something other than chocolate, choose between the Carrot Cake Macarons or the cake flavored Easter Marshmallow Trio, both of which are almost too cute to eat.

La Churreria

Throughout April
Nolita
This churro-centric spot is putting the cutest Easter spin on their crispy cinnamon churros by twisting them up into bunnies and bunny ears. At Churreria, choose from a Bunny Churro Lollipop topped with your choice of chocolate or dulce de leche and sprinkles, or the bunny ear churros in the Ube and Matcha ice cream sundae or the Ube Milkshake, both of which are made with ice cream from il laboratorio del gelato.

Photo by Briana Balducci
Photo by Briana Balducci
Photo by Briana Balducci

Lafayette

Throughout April
NoHo
You’ve surely seen this croissant tons of times while scrolling through IG or TikTok, whether it’s the Pain au Chocolat one or the latest of the month. Known as Supr√™mes, these filled croissants went viral and continue to live up to the hype each time a new flavour comes out. April’s flavour-sour cherry amaretto with a Luxardo custard and toasted almonds. While you’ll have to be super early and wait in line during one of their three drops of the day to get a taste, we promise you it’ll be worth it.

Photo courtesy of Levain
Photo courtesy of Levain
Photo courtesy of Levain

Levain

Seasonal
Various locations
We all know the iconic cookies from Levain-they’re gigantic, perfectly crispy and chewy, and well worth the long lines. For spring, the shop is launching a new flavour: Caramel Coconut Chocolate Chip. Filled with gooey caramel chips, fresh shredded coconut, and melty dark chocolate, it’s one you’ve got to try while it’s still around. To further celebrate the new season, all of Levain’s storefronts will be decked out in spring floral displays, serving as the perfect backdrop for pictures.

Get the latest from Thrillist Australia delivered straight to your inbox, subscribe here.

Alaina Cintron is an Editorial Assistant at Thrillist. Her work can also be found in Westchester Magazine, Girls’ Life, and Spoon University. When she’s not at her desk typing away, you can find her exploring a local coffee shop or baking a new recipe.

Related

Our Best Stories, Delivered Daily
The best decision you'll make all day.