Photo of the Strand’s new UWS storefront, taken by 6sqft on July 7, 2020
After a long and dramatic saga, the Upper West Side’s Book Culture closed for good in February, but a new beloved book store is opening up in the storefront. The Strand announced earlier this year that third-generation owner Nancy Bass Wyden signed a lease for the space, which will be renamed The Strand at Columbus Avenue. And Gothamist received confirmation from the owner that it’ll be opening this month.
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, Tue, September 24, 2019
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Following a City Council Land Use Committee vote on Monday that confirmed the landmark designation of The Strand, store owner Nancy Bass Wyden said she will sue the city. Wyden has been staunchly opposed to the designation since the building at 826 Broadway was first calendered, citing concerns about costly construction and renovation work that could force her out of the business her grandfather started 92 years ago. Wyden will sue the Landmarks Preservation Commission in Manhattan Federal Court “to start,” according to the Daily News, who spoke with her lawyer, Alex Urbelis. Politicians “picked the wrong bookstore and they certainly picked the wrong woman,” Urbelis said.
The Landmarks Preservation Commission voted on Tuesday to designate The Strand bookstore as an individual landmark, despite opposition from the store’s owner and local community members. Nancy Bass Wyden, who owns the Strand building, did not support designation because she worried that restrictions placed on landmarked buildings would prevent timely construction or renovation of the store in the future. While more than 11,000 people signed a petition opposing the designation, according to Wyden’s attorney, the commission voted unanimously in favor of landmarking. “Although this is not the outcome we hoped for, we’ll continue to serve our customers as we have done robustly for 92 years,” the Strand wrote in a tweet Tuesday.
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In a heated second hearing before the Landmarks Preservation Commission, the owner of the iconic Strand Bookstore, Nancy Bass Wyden, continued her fight to keep the famed bookseller’s building from being designated a city landmark along with seven buildings on Broadway between East 12th and 14th Streets. Instead, Wyden is offering to put in place a historic preservation easement on the storefront, Gothamist reports. The easement would be the result of an agreement between the property’s owner and a nonprofit group that would serve as a steward for the building’s preservation, ensuring that, in this case the building’s facade, would be properly preserved. At a previous LPC hearing The Strand’s owner voiced strong concerns that a historic designation would place crippling restrictions on the scrappy business and potentially threaten its future.
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Earlier today, the Landmarks Preservation Commission held a public hearing to consider landmarking seven buildings on Broadway between East 12th and 14th Streets, one of which many already recognize as an unofficial NYC landmark — The Strand bookstore. In advance of the hearing, The Strand voiced strong concerns that the designation would place crippling restrictions on the scrappy business and potentially threaten its future, as the New York Times reported. Referencing the recent tax incentives that Amazon received to relocate to Long Island City, Strand owner Nancy Bass Wyden said, “The richest man in America, who’s a direct competitor, has just been handed $3 billion in subsidies. I’m not asking for money or a tax rebate. Just leave me alone.”
Find out what happened at today’s hearing