BY Rainey “Skates” Cruz

Far Uptown, on Dyckman Street, nestled by Sherman Avenue, between the hustle and bustle of foot traffic and double-parked cars, sits a man with a stand. No, he doesn’t sell food. And no, he doesn’t sell any jewelry. He doesn’t sell hats, vitamins, or music. The man, Cesar Gonzalez, sells books.

Mr. Gonzales has been providing the Uptown community with books for 14 years now. He owned and operated Caliope, the neighborhood’s only bookstore, which was also located on Dyckman. The store was a goldmine for readers seeking hard-to-find Spanish translations of popular and rare literature. Caliope was also a haven for many cultural and literature-related happenings. It wasn’t uncommon to catch authors, speakers, and artists sharing their work there.   

Recent differences with the landlord within the past year have forced Cesar and the books out of the Caliope storefront. That hasn’t kept Cesar from working, however. He still manages to reach customers via his humble book table.

It would be a shame to lose such a seasoned cultural resource in the Uptown community, but until any new opportunity presents itself, Mr. Gonzalez will have to keep Caliope’s inventory in storage, and manage with his stand.

The next time you’re in the area, be sure stop by and pick up a book or maybe even a conversation to support!

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