It wouldn’t be the primary time the town Landmarks Preservation Fee designated a constructing for “safety” over the objections of its homeowners, however the push to landmark the positioning of the Strand bookstore is especially perverse: It’s the shop, not the edifice containing it, that’s historic.
With its “18 miles of Books,” the Strand has been a mecca for book-lovers since 1927, surviving first the low cost chains like Barnes & Noble after which on-line behemoth Amazon.
The Bass household, which has all the time owned the shop, had the foresight to purchase the constructing again in 1996 to keep away from the hovering rents now killing so many metropolis retailers. Even with tight margins, that lets present clan scion Nancy Bass Wyden maintain the Strand going.
Bass says the prices that landmarking would impose might push the shop over the brink. Referring to the current Amazon deal, she instructed The New York Occasions, “The richest man in America, who’s a direct competitor, has simply been handed $three billion in subsidies. I’m not asking for cash or a tax rebate. Simply depart me alone.”
But the transfer would nonetheless be an outrage even when it didn’t kill the shop, as a result of it’s not about what landmarking is supposed to do.
The fee’s temporary calls the Strand “a middle of literary life in Manhattan” and an “internationally acknowledged bookstore and vacation spot” — which has nothing to do with the constructing. The shop might transfer to a brand new website and stay the Strand.
The temporary reeks of rationalization. Certainly, this proposal, with others to landmark different close by constructions, appears extra like an effort to cease growth throughout the entire neighborhood by “locking up” key websites.
Landmarking is meant to protect the most effective of historical past, not choke the change important to a residing metropolis simply to fulfill the needs of some well-connected.
Don’t mess with the Strand.