Monday, December 31, 2007

Barnes & Noble Astor Place

VANISHED: December 31, 2007

It is with great ambivalence that I report on the last day of the Astor Place Barnes & Noble. Tomorrow, the book behemoth will be gone. In the meantime, they are having the crappiest 50% off sale ever--unless you're in the market for military history pictorials, diet books, and calendars featuring golden retrievers.



I'm supposed to hate chains. For the record, I don't. I hate the chains' proliferation and domination of this city. I hate the way they're turning the city into a mall. A couple here and there would not be a problem.

About Barnes & Noble I am quite conflicted. I resent their awesome power in the book world (their buyers dictate what gets published and what doesn't), but I also love books. And I like them a lot more than gym rats, who will soon flock to the David Barton that is rumored to move in. Also, B&N is a public space of sorts--we can all go inside that beautiful old building and enjoy it. A gym is members-only space.



I admit, I will miss the place. But my hope is that, with B&N gone, the few independents it didn't kill will thrive and more will open.

The folks at St. Mark's Books are already freaking out a little. I'm freaking out a little--because the small shop is packed already with people who don't normally shop there. This means you can forget about a calm, pleasant browsing experience--expect to be pushed and shoved. The cashier told me they've been gearing up for the post-Barnes & Noble flood, pumping up their inventory.

I asked if they'd be changing to appeal to their new customers. Thankfully, he denied any plans to stock up on self-help books and puppy calendars.

13 comments:

Anonymous said...

couldn't agree more about the sale... but then again they really don't need to have a sale since they have like 5 other locations in the city at least... they can just move the merchandise along... but so disappointment when I went there... so very disappointed...

Anonymous said...

too bad B&N doesn't want to invest in the East Village again. A B&N actually increase the building's value because of higher foot traffic. Maybe the 2nd Floor above Chase on Astor Place or the old Tower Record store on 4th Street take a pity of the big chain store.

anonymous said...

I frequently use to pass by that B&N location - both long before it was a B&N and since, but I couldn't care less one way or the other now. Though born and bred in NYC I've recently moved out and good riddance to NYC's madness. Long survives on bravado and bluster, tinged with a large dose of self-delusion. Enjoy it while you can.

Anonymous said...

I was a member of the staff that opened this B&N back in the autumn of 1994. Our manager, Charlie, broke open a bottle of champagne he bought from Astor Wine (when it was next door) on the front steps to "launch" the location. Thanks for reporting on its final day and bringing back some memories.

KarinR. said...

Wow. This was "my" B & N, and the only reason I had to go to Astor Place besides Astor Place Wines, which is now also gone. How sad. I stocked up on books at that location not too long ago, and I had no clue about its closing.

The Bowery Boys - Greg said...

Im actually impressed that St Marks Books -- and Shakespeares down a bit on Broadway -- have been able to survive with that massive Barnes & Noble there. I always thought it was the best B&N, for what that's worth. Now if it could just take a few Starbucks with it.

Raul Ray said...

Wow nice blog...It's seems be great..........!!

Anonymous said...

This isn't the only B&N that's closing. The huge one at 6th ave and 22nd is also gone come March. Total bummer - it's a beautiful store that I go to almost every week. They said they couldn't afford the rent. Don't know who the new tenant will be - the "for rent" banners are flying above.

Anonymous said...

i couldn't believe when i passed B&N a few weeks ago to see a dark and empty building. that store was a perfect place to stop in whether it was for a bathroom break, coffee break or to just browse the books on a cold day. first, astor wines, now B&N? Well, we can all look at KMart, Walgreens and whatever atrocious business comes in B&N's place and see the deterioration of Astor Place as it once was.

Anonymous said...

It's a sad, sad, sad moment. I think I maybe shedding a tear reading this blog and writing my response. I actually just passed by at the Astor Pl. location this weekend, and did not realize that B&N closed in this branch. Just to show you how much changes have gone in a few months of not walking around Astor Place.

I miss NY(City) -- and I live here.
ee

Anonymous said...

Because Astor Wine MOVED (not closed y'all) I hadn't been on Astor Place in a long time, I had no idea it had closed...

esquared said...

and now the one on the uws will shutter -- too

http://mediadecoder.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/08/30/barnes-noble-to-shutter-lincoln-center-store/#preview

P Courtney said...

Barnes and Noble is like my second home.
I love the way they've moved the categories around so that certain subjects get noticed more.
Did I see that this store has closed? Could it be a victim of the eBook era? How sad......