Strand Bookstore, one of the city’s most treasured spaces, was officially named a New York City landmark this week.
While this may seem like something to celebrate the building owners are not as thrilled. The Strand Bookstore has been around since 1927, and has managed to escape the pressures of escalating rent cost because the entire building was bought out by the Wyden family—the store’s owners.
On Tuesday, the Landmark Preservation Commission voted to make the building at 826 Broadway a landmark (along with buildings 817, 830, 836, 840, and 841), but with this title will come regulations. Nancy Bass Wyden has been fighting against the LPC in fear that making it an official landmark of the city would ultimately be what shuts the bookstore’s doors. By being a landmark the building will have more regulations when it comes to maintenance that can end up being very costly. In our earlier reporting of the dilemma we mentioned that Wyden said in an interview: “By landmarking the Strand, you can also destroy a piece of New York history. We’re operating on very thin margins here, and this would just cost us a lot more, with this landmarking, and be a lot more hassle.”
After putting up quite the fight, it seems they’ve lost the battle. The bookstore held a press conference about the LPC’s results of landmark status on Tuesday morning where Wyden addressed the ultimate verdict, calling it “unfair from the start.” She goes on to say, “We are fighting this at the grass roots level. We need your support.”
Strand Bookstore followed up this statement by taking to Instagram, saying:
“The Strand Book Store has officially been designated a landmark by the Landmarks Preservation Commission. Although this is not the outcome we hoped for, we will continue to serve our customers as we have done robustly for 92 years. Thank you for your support along the way.
For every repair and every upgrade, Strand will have to go through the slow bureaucracy of the Landmarks Preservation Commission which adds to the expenses to keep Strand alive.”
It’ll be up to the community now to keep the Strand alive!
The idea behind preserving buildings in this area came after a fear that it was becoming a tech hub, with big companies pushing out the neighborhood’s history (i.e. the tech center that’s taking over what was formerly P.C. Richard & Son). Originally, the LPC intended to preserve nearly 200 buildings, but they only found seven that qualified.
Also published on Medium.