It’s a tough time for booklovers in Queens.
The Bayside Barnes & Noble, at 23-80 Bell Blvd., might close down soon, as the bookstore chain said it was not able to reach an agreement with the landlord over its lease.
The Forest Hills and Bayside locations are the last Barnes & Noble stores in Queens, after the chain closed its location on Union Turnpike in Fresh Meadows last year.
“Despite our best efforts to secure lease extensions at both our Forest Hills and Bayside Barnes & Noble locations, the respective property owners decided to lease to other tenants,” said David Deason, the vice president of development at Barnes & Noble.
“When our lease came back up for renewal the property owner notified us that they chose a tenant who was willing to pay rents far in excess of what we were willing to pay,” Deason added, referring to the Bayside store which is located within the Bay Terrace complex.
A representative for Cord Meyer Development, the landlord in Bayside, said Thursday the company has “no comment at this time,” adding that Barnes & Noble is still its “current tenant.”
It was not immediately clear when the lease on the Bayside location expires.
Sources said that HomeGoods may be replacing the bookstore at the Bay Terrace complex.
HomeGoods did not respond to emails seeking comment.
The bookstore chain said it won’t give up on Queens.
“The Queens community is extremely important to us and as a result we are aggressively looking at new locations and expect to have a new store there in the future,” Deason said.”
Now this is my problem with this. Here is a map of New York City:
Now here is the current list of how many Barnes and Noble locations are in each borough:
- Bronx – 1
- Brooklyn – 2
- Manhattan – 6
- Queens – 1 (Forest Hills location closes in January)
- Staten Island – 1
Look how big the Bronx, Queens, Brooklyn and Staten Island are compared to Manhattan. Wouldn’t it be better for Barnes and Noble to close one of the six locations in Manhattan so they would be able to pay for the rent for any of the outer borough stores? The rent has to be much higher in Manhattan compared to the other boroughs. Why leave big boroughs with just one measly bookstore and clutter a little island with unnecessary ones?
I am not saying too many bookstores is a bad thing. But I don’t think Manhattan would really lose out if one or two of those locations closed down. Last year, Barnes & Noble try to close the location in the Bronx last year, leaving the borough “bookless”. But the store managed to be saved for the next two years. For a store that is going through financial difficulties, you would think that they come up with a better solution than leaving entire borough without a bookstore.
Like I have said before, I used to work for Barnes and Noble and I might be a little bias since I don’t have very kind words about that experience. But that doesn’t mean depriving communities of a brick and mortar bookstore, especially in this climate, can be favorable in any possible way.