It looks like Gotham Book Mart in New York is in trouble once again. This is my favorite store in the country, and I hope something can be done to keep the store open.
From the New York Times story today:
In the last six months, the owners of the building have moved to evict the store and its owner, Andreas Brown. Friends of Mr. Brown’s say the building’s owners were only trying to help Gotham get on its feet. They say that Mr. Brown, who hoped to buy the building eventually, fell behind on his $51,000 monthly rent, and owes at least $500,000 in rent, taxes, interest and other fees.
Whether he fell behind because he lost momentum during the difficult transition after the move from the old building or because — as some friends say — he devoted his money to his first love, buying more books, and to paying his employees rather than his rent, the Gotham is fighting for its life once again.
What is clear is that a judge has authorized a city marshal to seize hundreds of thousands of items worth, perhaps, millions of dollars; that the store is closed, though employees are still allowed inside; and that Mr. Brown, who is 73, is no longer living there.
Mr. Brown’s lawyer, Lawrence D. Bernfeld, said yesterday that the current owner of the building, listed in real estate records only as 16 East 46th Street Property L.L.C., was willing, for just a brief time, to entertain offers to sell the building at below-market price to a new owner who would continue renting to the Gotham. “Should such a contract go forward, enlightened capitalism will be at work,” Mr. Bernfeld said.
I spoke with Andreas in the spring of 2005 for a story and posted previously on this blog about my love for his store.