Scoopy’s Notebook, Week of April 20, 2017


Ex-bookstore blues: It’s not surprising that William Kelley, the director of the Village Alliance business improvement district, is ticked off about the old Barnes & Noble bookstore corner space at Sixth Ave. and Eighth St. having sat empty for more than three years. TD Bank has held the lease on the space all that time. “Having the retail space lie vacant for so long is of course very frustrating,” he told us. “Being one of the gateways to Greenwich Village’s main subway station, it is a struggle for all of our local merchants to contend with the loss of an anchor retail space. But I would be more frustrated if I were a TD Bank shareholder knowing that money is going to waste month after month. Unfortunately for them, there is more retail supply now than when they took

Trigger is praying that real estate brokers stop destroying the East Village's retail scene. Villager file photo
Trigger is praying that real estate brokers stop destroying the East Village’s retail scene. Villager file photo

the lease in 2014,” he noted. The Barnes & Noble space has been shuttered since Dec. 31, 2012, but TD Bank did not lease the space until about a year and a half after that. “My understanding is that they signed a number of leases over that time period but did not move forward with all of them,” Kelley continued. “I cannot speak to their exact intentions, but the signs you see posted on the building windows confirm that the current leaseholder is trying to either sublease the space or would renegotiate the lease if a new tenant is found.” And of course, the former St. Mark’s Bookshop space, at Third Ave. and Stuyvesant St., is still empty, too. Is there anything more depressing than losing a beloved book store — and then seeing the storefront untenanted for years? It’s really a sin. TD Bank and The Cooper Union, which owns the Third Ave. space, should at least do some pop-up book shows periodically. C’mon already! Trigger, the Vietnamese rice paddy-hat-wearing proprietor of the Continental rock club-turned-cheap shots bar on Third Ave. between St. Mark’s Place and Stuyvesant St., is just about as frustrated at Kelley about things — actually more, from the sound of it. “I don’t know what’s going on with the old St. Mark’s Bookshop space,” he said. “It’s been vacant for three years. There are also six vacant stores catty-corner at Ninth St. and Third Ave. at the northeast corner, and the same at Second Ave. and St. Mark’s. My opinion is that the brokers put these crazy numbers — dollar amounts per square foot — in the landlords’ heads, and the landlords get excited,” he said. “But very few tenants last at these inflated rents. When 7-Eleven leaves St. Mark’s and McDonald’s [on Third Ave.] is leaving soon, something’s very wrong. If they can’t make it, nobody can! I’ve heard that there are well over 100 vacant storefronts each way within five blocks of me. The brokers are parasites and carpetbaggers, scumbags. They don’t make a dime when a landlord renews a lease. That’s their agenda — turnover. And if the new tenant fails, all the better — they’ll make another commission on their replacement!”