By the end of 2016, the only major bookstore in the Bronx will be closing down. The Barnes & Noble in Bay Plaza has a long history of trying to stay alive. Despite the community’s past success, this time around it seems the store is gone for good.
Image courtesy of Daily News New York
Apparently the owner of the property did not extend an offer to renew Barnes & Noble’s lease. Instead, they will be opening up a Saks Fifth Avenue outlet, which has already agreed to pay more rent. This is a tragedy considering how many kids will no longer have easy access to books, and more generally, a quiet place to read.
There is some hope, however, two eight-year-old twins, Jayla and Jazlene Perez, have been writing letters to Barnes & Nobles in hopes that they will stay open. They told The New Yorker in an interview that, “People can change things when they want to do something, no matter how hard it is.” Their resolve to keep the bookstore open brings up both a sense of hope and a sense of tragedy.
Another beacon of hope comes from Noelle Santos. Santos is planning on opening her own bookstore called “Bossy & Bookish in the South Bronx.” She has recently won $7500 in a start-up competition and is doing some additional fund-raising to get the idea off the ground. If she succeeds, she will be one of the only bookstores in the Bronx, but she herself has said “Even if my bookstore and Barnes & Noble were right next door to each other, this borough would still be underserved.”
Featured image courtesy of The New York Times