Ed Sanders Opens Peace Eye Bookstore

Ed Sanders Opens Peace Eye Bookstore

Ed Sanders was a new father who needed a steady stream of income—publishing a mimeo literary magazine and fronting the Fugs certainly didn’t pay the bills—and in 1964 he opened the Peace Eye Bookstore on 383 East Tenth Street. It served the East Village in much the same way Paperbook Gallery and Eighth Street Bookshop did Greenwich Village. By this point Sanders was friends with Andy Warhol, who was working on a popular new flower print series that anticipated the “flower power movement three years ahead of its time,” as the Peace Eye proprietor recalled. After Warhol agreed to print flower banners for the grand opening of his store, Sanders bought some colored cloths from one of the many fabric vendors on Orchard Street and carried them to the Factory. Warhol silkscreened red, yellow, and blue banners for the bookstore’s walls—though Sanders certainly didn’t treat them as precious works of art made by a famous artist. He used one banner as a rain cape, which he accidentally left at a deli, and ripped apart another onstage during a frenzied performance with the Fugs. The store’s grand opening attracted Time magazine reporters and even middlebrow celebrity author James Michener, who was dropped off in a limousine in his evening attire. While the occasional famous figure might drop by, Poet Andrei Codrescu described Peace Eye as a neighborhood bookstore for poets, activists, street riffraff, travelers, visionaries, and crazies. “It was a scene,” he said, “because Sanders’s mimeograph machine was right in the middle of the store, and Abbie Hoffman hung out there a lot. It was a hanging-out place for various activists of the age.”

From Chapter 5 of The Downtown Pop Underground — order online, or from a local independent bookstore


Peace Eye Bookstore
383 E 10th St, New York, NY 10009