Preservation Issues

The Strand Building is Now an Official Landmark


-The Strand Bookstore at 828 Broadway


-Conservancy Office Library

UPDATE: On June 11, the Landmarks Preservation Commission voted unanimously to designate seven buildings south of Union Square as individual landmarks. The vote came despite heated opposition from the owner of 826 Broadway, which houses the Strand Bookstore, which she also owns. At the hearing, her attorney asked the Commissioners to vote their consciences. They did, with a ringing endorsement for the 1902 Renaissance Revival tower. The Conservancy has supported this designation from the beginning and rebutted the owner’s unfounded claims that it will destroy the bookstore.
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We Love Books & Preservation – Designating 826 Broadway

February, 2019
The Conservancy showed its love of books and preservation again, testifying at a second, heated Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC) hearing on designating 826 Broadway, home of the Strand Bookstore. The owner of the building and the bookstore has been staunchly against the designation, and has made many unfounded statements in the press and on the store’s website. Our testimony at the February 19 hearing responded to some of those statements.

Strand: We are in a threatening retail and book environment, and are fighting to compete with Amazon.
Bookstores and many retail outlets in New York have been under siege by changes in consumer habits and rising rents. Not by landmark designation.

Strand: This designation would greatly limit our opportunities to survive as a tourist destination, host of author discussions, put books in the hands of readers…
Designation saved SoHo and the Ladies Mile Historic District. Some of the most-visited attractions in New York are landmarks.

Strand: Wouldn’t it be ironic if by landmarking The Strand, … you put it in peril?
Yes, it would, but there is absolutely no evidence that will happen.

826 Broadway clearly merits designation for its architecture. The distinguished building is one of a group of seven along Broadway that the LPC heard for designation last year, which well represents the history and architecture of Manhattan just south of Union Square.

The Commission has not set a date for its vote on this designation.

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December, 2018
The Conservancy loves books and we love the Strand Bookstore, one of New York’s most cherished institutions. At a December 4 Landmarks Preservation Commission hearing, we spoke out in support of designating the Strand’s building as an individual landmark. (read our testimony)

The building at 826 Broadway is an 11-story Renaissance Revival style structure from 1902. It has a limestone and brick façade that features rich terra cotta decorative details and a magnificent cornice. The Commission held hearings that day on seven buildings on Broadway near 12th and 13th Streets. We supported the entire group for designation.

Books and bookstores are at the heart of what New Yorkers love about their City. The Conservancy has worked over the years to make sure that doesn’t change. We tried to save the Rizzoli Bookstore on 57th Street and we said “NO” when the New York Public Library wanted to demolish their stacks. So we were sorry to see that the Strand’s owner came out very much against the designation, claiming that it would destroy the building.

But as Peg Breen, the Conservancy’s president, noted in a December 3 New York Times article, the Strand’s concerns are unfounded. “’No one is doing this to hurt the Strand, or add difficulties,’ she said. ‘They’re doing it to honor the building.’ Ms. Breen wants more buildings in the area to be landmarked, and hopes that designating the Strand’s building and the other six would pave the way, especially as a $250 million, 21-story tech training center is being developed near the Strand.”

We hope to hear more about the concerns the Strand has raised, and work toward a resolution that secures landmark protections for this treasured piece of New York history.

Read the Conservancy’s testimony before the Landmarks Preservation Commission.