Coming Soon to the Tenderloin: Another Dirty, Poorly Lit Place For Books

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By Peter Jamison

Transporting a collection of books, records and periodicals that purportedly surpasses 1 million volumes is no small feat. Imagine doing so on a litter-strewn block in one of the city's worst neighborhoods, dodging local toughs and zig-zagging wheelchairs at every step, and you've got the case of McDonald's Bookshop owner Itzhak Volansky.

Evicted from his cavernous Turk Street shop earlier this month by the Tenderloin Neighborhood Development Corporation, Volansky is supposed to already be gone. (TNDC gave him the boot over unpaid rent; the amount is in dispute, but Volansky admits it was at least $10,000.) At McDonald's on Tuesday, however, the scene was a grossly magnified version of the typical college freshman's dorm room on the last day of school. Books lined the walls and littered the floors. It seems improbable that Volansky is actually going to clear out his inventory before TNDC loses patience.

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The good news is that he may not have far to go. Volansky said yesterday that he plans to open a new McDonald's Bookshop just a block away, at 120 Turk St, in a commercial space that he owns. The venue is smaller, But McDonald's Part Deux should still offer a fix for bibliophiles inclined to spend hours grazing through vintage erotica, obscure sociology texts, and the various other outlands of the literary universe that Volansky offers his clients.

But they may have to wait. "It's going to be awhile," Volansky tells SF Weekly, before he opens the new store. One downside, he adds with a smile, of the one-block move: "It's not going to be as nice as this beautiful part of town."

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