Hey Ladies at Housing Works Bookstore Cafe

I’ve talked about Housing Works’s bookstore café on this blog before. It’s a bookshop in SoHo where all of the merchandise has been donated, most of the staff is made up of volunteers, and all of their profits go to support the good work done by Housing Works, an organization dedicated to helping people with AIDS and HIV. I love any and all bookstores, especially used ones, but Housing Works is special because of its mission, its beautiful space, and the awesome events that are held there.

I went to one on Thursday night. If you’ve been reading my blog for a while (or talk to me in person!) you might know that I love the site The Toast and even had a couple pieces published by them last spring. The Toast does a lot of things really well, and one of those things is humor. Many of the humor posts are by one of the Toast’s founders, Mallory Ortberg, but I would have to say most people’s not-Mallory favorite humor on the site is the Hey Ladies series. You can read them here — make sure to start with the oldest one and work your way forward. I’d say go and do it now, but you might never come back from that rabbit hole.

Back in the fall the two writers responsible for Hey Ladies, Michelle Markowitz and Caroline Moss, held a Hey Ladies: Live! event at Housing Works. I went with a friend and was treated to an hour of live readings of the emails of a group of fictional women living in or near NYC whose unhealthy group dynamic is so terrible and yet so compelling. The thing is, reading this series, you’re laughing at and horrified by these women, but you also come to realize that you’ve been on email chains that, if just a little more over the top, might have been just like these ones.

And I know I’ve started emails with “Hi ladies!” before. I know, I’m ashamed.

Thursday night was Part 2 of Hey Ladies: Live! at Housing Works. The theme was Home for the Holidays and the women read several holiday-related email chains, from St. Patrick’s Day (in Hoboken…) to the merits of seeing a high school ex on Thanksgiving Eve — and a premiere of a new piece, the characters’ letters to Santa.

Here’s the thing: Except for the Santa one, I had already read all of these pieces. But it didn’t matter — the delivery of the readers had me laughing the whole time. The “real” hey ladies emails that they read between pieces, submitted by the audience, were also a blast. I just hope no one recognized themselves!

My friends and I really enjoyed ourselves, as I’ve had at every event I’ve been to at Housing Works. If you’ve never been, pop in to browse the next time you’re in SoHo, or check out one of their events. You won’t be disappointed!

And seriously go check out the Hey Ladies series over at The Toast. I promise you’ll laugh!


  1. I finally went to Housing Works Bookstore Cafe for the first time this week. The Moth Story Slam! It was so great and they mentioned this event- I wanted to go but alas had work. You post reminds me I must check out the next one!

  2. Sarah (Noted in NYC)

    January 16, 2015 at 11:23 pm

    Ahh I haven’t been to the Moth Story Slam in about two years! I keep meaning to go back — if you decide to and want a buddy, let me know! I’ve been to several events at Housing Works now and it’s always a good time.

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