Jeremiah Moss, the creator of the blog Jeremiah’s Vanishing New York, has responded to yesterday’s dispiriting denial of a rent reduction to St. Mark’s Bookshop by Cooper Union with his own petition. (Nearly 44,000 people signed the petition to save the store, though those signatures did not convince Cooper Union to change their stance — and, though Cooper Union is currently asking for a rent of $20,000, they have apparently told the bookstore owners they want to rent the space for $40,000.) Jeremiah’s new petition asks for signatures to support a campaign to boycott whatever business moves into 31 Third Avenue if the bookstore is forced to close.
While St. Mark’s owners say the store is not in danger of immediately closing (business has been good for the last two months, thanks to community support over the rent issue), it’s unclear what will happen when the issue is no longer one being fought and instead something that’s a done deal — particularly when rent rises once again, as it always does. Jeremiah asks, “Who can afford to pay $40,000 a month? A bank can afford it. Starbucks can afford it. Marc Jacobs can afford it. Do we need more of those? No, we don’t.”
He continues, of his move to boycott whatever new, presumably chain-type business comes in,
This tactic was used by Upper West Siders to save their local pharmacy, and it worked. It can work again — even if it doesn’t work, Cooper needs to know we’re pissed. So I’m starting with a petition. Please sign it — then tweet it, Facebook it, blog it, share it with as many people as you can.
Click above or copy and paste this link:
Sign the petition if you love St. Mark’s Books. Sign it if you just love books. Sign it if you’re sick and tired of watching New York City’s cultural touchstones go down the toilet day after day. Sign it if you miss the East Village before it became a frat house. Sign it if you don’t like the way Cooper Union contributes to real estate overdevelopment in the neighborhood. Sign it if you hate having a bank on every corner and a chain store on every other. Sign it if you’re sick of bumping into brainless zombies with their faces buried in electronic devices. Sign it because you’re mad as hell and you’re not going to take it anymore!
And, yes, of course — go buy some books while you’re at it.
The petition has 59 signatures so far.
Update: Jeremiah tells us, “About 100 people have signed the petition so far and it’s been up for about 3 hours.”
“St. Mark’s Bookshop is one of the last good reasons to live in the East Village. So much of the neighborhood has been turned into a zombie wasteland of pubcrawlers and frat bars.
“But this isn’t just about one bookshop. This decision has to be seen in a larger picture–a picture in which the creative and iconoclastic culture of the East Village, and New York City overall, is being absolutely decimated by out of control rents and a general culture of indifference and greed. This is part of a culture war–one in which disposable electronic products are winning against books, where tweets beat novels, ‘Be Stupid’ philosophies are winning over intelligent thought, and sociopathy is more celebrated than empathy. Which side is Cooper Union on?”
We’ve reached out to Cooper Union for comment.