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NYC Strand Bookstore Owner Says Landmark Designation Would Hurt the Business, Report Says

Strand Bookstore Exteriors - April 12, 2006Strand Bookstore Exteriors - April 12, 2006
The Strand, a legendary New York City bookstore, is being considered for a city landmark designation, but the owner doesn't want it. J. Kempin—FilmMagic

Legendary New York City bookstore Strand is being considered for a city landmark designation—an honor the owner of the 91-year-old company said she doesn’t want, The New York Times reports.

The Strand’s building is one of seven being considered for the designation by New York City’s Landmarks Preservation Commission, pointing to the world-renowned bookstore as “a center of literary life in Lower Manhattan,” the paper reports.

But Nancy Bass Wyden, who owns the bookstore and the building, opposes the idea, arguing that the added regulations will increase the costs for renovation and maintenance.

The Strand, which boasts the slogan “18 Miles of Books” and is one of the largest in the world, has been run by the Wyden family since it opened in 1927, The New York Times reports.

“By landmarking the Strand, you can also destroy a piece of New York history,” she told the paper.

The irony of the fact isn’t lost on her, Wyden told The New York Times, and neither is the paradoxical fact that the city and state offered billions in tax incentives to woo Amazon to put one of its second headquarters in Queens.

“[Jeff Bezos, t]he 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,” Ms. Wyden said. “Just leave me alone.”

Wyden has maintained the brick-and-mortar bookstore in Greenwich Village despite behemoths like Amazon offering low prices, fast shipping, and even opening a handful of physical bookstores across the country—including New York City.

A public hearing on the proposal was held on Tuesday. Wyden claimed the landmarking process was rushed and taking place during the busy holiday sales rush, and the Landmark Preservation Commission agreed to her request for more time with a second public hearing, Curbed New York reported. The commission issued a statement saying that they would work with Wyden to address her concerns, the publication reported.