The marker of a true cosmopolitan city is a really great newsstand. Teeming, a little messy, and slightly claustrophobic, it should be a physical embodiment of a whole world squeezed into one place. In addition to the local provincial fare, the truly great newsstand stretches outside its city’s borders by stocking foreign, exotic, and niche press. It should satisfy both the needs of the townie and the foreigner.
Out of Town News in Cambridge, Massachusetts
Yet as the world shrinks, the great newsstand seems perpetually threatened, apt to be eaten up even as cities that matter attract more and more foreign visitors. Take Out of Town News (shown above) in Cambridge, Massachusetts. The kiosk, filled with periodicals from Johannesburg to Jakarta and centrally situated in Harvard Square, faced its own existential a few years back. Luckily, it stuck through, and is still the first thing one sees upon exiting the Harvard Square T stop.
Amidst the shrinkage and possible extinction of the newsstand comes Kioskafe in London’s Paddington neighborhood. Started by the editors at Monocle, a group already committed to keeping print alive through the publication and success of their beautiful monthly, Kioskafe is a 21st century cafe that respects the history of the newsstand but embraces the conveniences of modernity.
Kioskafe stocks two things: words and fare. In addition to actual physical magazines and newspapers (think Le Monde, the Guardian, GQ, British Vogue, etc.), Kioskafe also offers a print-on-demand system that allows you to print and read almost any newspaper almost instantly. And when they say almost any, they mean it. Think 2,505 titles from 107 countries in 60 different languages. Azer News from Azerbaijan? All yours. The Kuwait Times? You got it. New Zealand's The Christchurch Mail? Perfect with your cortado.
All this news fits into a beautiful, bright, open, white and wooden space steps from the busy Paddington Station. Stop in, soak it up, and keep those printing presses churning.