Tina Fineberg for The New York Times
The New York Times’ Anemona Hartecollis reports on the struggle that 86-year-old Gotham Book Mart, one of New York’s best known literary landmarks, continues to have. After being saved from the brink of closing two years ago by a last-minute purchase – now revealed to be by cosmetics billionaire Leonard Lauder and real estate developer Edmondo Schwartz – that also arranged the purchase of a $5 million building (at 16 W. 46th Street) that would house its collection of rare books, the bookstore’s in trouble once more.
In the last six months, the owners of the building have moved to evict the store and its owner, 73 year old Andreas Brown. Friends of Brown’s say the building’s owners were only trying to help Gotham get on its feet. They say that 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. So the store is shut down for now and Brown said his small staff was working furiously to catalog about $3 million in books and art for sale on the Internet, which he believed would give a boost to the store. “It will be New York City’s loss as well if the Gotham Book Mart is evicted and effectively shut down,” he said.