The St. Mark’s Bookshop has made it official: after nearly 40 years in business, the beloved East Village bookstore will close for good at the end of the week.
Earlier this month, we sounded the alarm bells that the shop had just days left. This evening, it posted a matter-of-fact announcement to Facebook: “We will be closing for good Sunday, February 28, 2016. Thank you for your many years of patronage.” The date happens to be when Trash & Vaudeville will close for relocation and yet another neighborhood institution, Patricia Field, will shutter for good.
Memories, gratitude, and laments are already pouring in from commenters, some of whom have been browsing at the shop since it opened on St. Mark’s Place in 1977 (it moved to Third Avenue in 1994 and then to its current location on East 3rd Street just last year, after a bitter fight with landlord Cooper Union prompted fundraising efforts bolstered by elected officials and celebrity fans like Michael Moore and Neil Gaiman.)
The bookstore had been fighting its new landlord and a major distributor over “about $100,000 in current, hard and fast debts,” according to a lawyer who spoke to Bedford + Bowery last week. The landlord, the New York City Housing Authority, had initiated eviction proceedings. The distributor, Baker & Taylor, successfully sued the bookshop, prompting an auction of its assets. Meanwhile, the shop initiated a clearance sale that left its stock “severely depleted,” according to owner Bob Contant.
Sadly, that’s all she wrote.