Bronx elected officials are reacting to news that national retail bookseller Barnes & Noble has committed to return to The Bronx, following the announcement of the impending closure of their existing store in Bay Plaza.
“We are a borough of book lovers, and Barnes & Noble has been an institution in The Bronx for nearly two decades. I share the concerns of my constituents that they will depart Bay Plaza. However, I understand that the business of selling books is going through a transformation, and that Barnes & Noble is adjusting their business model to reflect a new reality,” said Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. “Barnes & Noble has made a commitment to return to The Bronx, and the people of this borough look forward to welcoming them back in the near future. We are also grateful to Prestige Properties and their CEO, Sam Shalem, for their previous efforts extend Barnes & Noble’s lease and their commitment to hold space in their retail center for the bookseller should they choose to return to Bay Plaza.”
Borough President Diaz added, "My office will continue to work with Barnes & Noble in the coming months to help identify potential locations for new retail sites in our borough that will work with their updated business model, and we will continue to support our libraries, as well as independent bookstores and other businesses that connect Bronxites with books.”
“Though I am saddened that Barnes & Noble will no longer operate at their current location in Bay Plaza, I appreciate that the company today has reaffirmed its commitment to operating a brick and mortar store in the Bronx,” said Congressman Eliot Engel. “Our borough is thriving, and I believe the presence of stores like Barnes & Noble is vital to its continued success. Over the years, Barnes & Noble became part of the fabric of Co-op City, serving hundreds of people every day as the only active bookstore in the borough. It is my hope that as the company begins its search for a new location, it will strongly consider remaining a part of the community by keeping a store open in Co-op City.”
“I’m very disappointed that Barnes & Noble is leaving Bay Plaza, but I am heartened that they have promised to return to The Bronx and that we’ll be able to enjoy the benefits of this bookstore for years to come,” said Assembly Member Michael Benedetto.
“It is saddening that we could not keep Barnes & Noble in Bay Plaza, a location that thousands of Bronx residents visit and utilize every day. I appreciate Barnes & Noble's search for another location in the Bronx as its presence if indispensable to our borough,” Assembly Member Mark Gjonaj.
“It's unfortunate that Barnes & Noble and Prestige Properties have not been able to work out an agreement,” said Council Member James Vacca. “I urge Barnes & Noble to look at alternative locations in the Bronx as our borough will be without a major bookstore once the Bay Plaza store closes its doors. I stand ready to work with Borough President Diaz and other elected officials to make sure Barnes & Noble finds a suitable location in our borough as soon as possible and am glad to note that Barnes & Noble has communicated to us that they are committed to doing so.”
“The Bronx Barnes & Noble has been a fixture in Co-op City. We tried to work something out in order for it to remain in Co-op City. It's sad when economics rule over service to the community. The thought of a possible return to the Bronx in two years still creates a void for those who have depended on the Bronx Barnes & Noble to get literature, take part in family programs and earn a living -- there will be job losses,” said Council Member Andy King. “As the Barnes & Noble era in Co-op City comes to an end we must work together to encourage other businesses that tailor to the curious mind to open in The Bronx. The closing of Barnes & Noble in Co-op City isn't the end of reading in The Bronx but a reminder that we must continue to utilize these venues and take full advantage of them while we have them.”