The St. Marks Bookshop is facing a possible eviction, and we, and others, have been urging people who want to save it to not just sign the online petition (which now has nearly 30,000 signatures) but also…buy books. After all, if each of those 30,000 people would buy one $14.95 book, the store would make $448,500. Jeremiah’s Vanishing New York today posted a comment from a tipster that this weekend had indeed been a good one at the bookstore, “Reader George writes in: ‘I was buying some books at St. Marks and overheard the guys behind the counter talking about what a good sales weekend it was. They had sold out of some paperbacks and had to order more. They said it was the best weekend they’ve had since Christmas!'” We talked to Terry McCoy, co-owner of the shop, this morning to check in. Was it true?
“We had a good weekend, maybe not as good as Christmas,” he said. “You could say it was about 35 percent better this weekend than we had been doing. We had a very bad August what with the hurricane, and we got into a bit of hole.”
McCoy has himself lived in the neighborhood since ’68; in a telling real-estate aside, he revealed that he’d met his wife in the ’80s and she had a nicer rent-stabilized place than he did, “so I married her!” He said he can’t really see moving the store to a new location at this point — it’s currently in its third — and, after all, it takes a certain amount of cash to move, as well as a feasible spot to relocate to.
McCoy told us no date has yet been set for the store’s next meeting with Cooper Union to continue to discuss a hoped-for $5,000 rent reduction (from $20,000 a month), but that he thinks the date will be finalized by the end of the week. In the meantime,
“Think of us when you’re going to buy a book or magazine or even a card or postcard. We have calendars, too, and Moleskine…. That, to me, is the best kind of support. The point we are making, the difference between how we approached Cooper Union last summer and this summer, is that we’re saying we’re an integral part of the community. Last year we approached them with numbers, and they came back with their own. But this community is really concerned about preserving independent businesses and diversity, to keep this from becoming a mall-type chain-store bank-branch neighborhood.”
As for the show of support, he says, “All of this is more than we dreamed possible. I don’t know what [Cooper Union] thinks, but I think this has been a wakeup call for the neighborhood. All we would ask is that people keep buying books.”