The Strand is taking a stand.
“We’re not going to board up the windows,” said Nancy Bass Wyden, third-generation owner of the famed East Village bookstore.
Its “18 miles of books” have been under lockdown since the pandemic began, but now a new threat to the 93-year-old business has emerged — looters and rioters marauding through the neighborhood.
“Maybe I just feel like they see our signs all over our walls, and they see that we’re begging people to order from us online,” she said of the larcenous mobs. “So I’m hoping that the bookstore gets spared.”
Wyden theorizes looters are in search of corporate-run retailers and banks, not her independently owned shop containing 2.5 million used, new and rare volumes.
Yet on Sunday night graffiti saying “F–k NYPD” and “NYPD SMD” was spray-painted on the Broadway and East 12th Street facade, which was designated a city landmark last summer.
“We spent Monday morning cleaning it up,” said James Odum, the store spokesman.
Bibliophiles flooded the beloved business, which survived the Great Depression and 9/11, with worried messages.
“Concern largely stemmed from footage aired on various news stations of protests in front of the store, including a viral clip of a police officer waving his gun around at protesters,” explained Odum.
Instead of retreating, the store is reaching out to the community in the time of strife.
Ten percent of sales between Monday and Friday will be donated to Black Lives Matter, Odum said.
And the store sent out a blast email detailing its expansive collection of African American studies titles.
“Black Lives Matter is obviously central to the movement, so we figured it was in our best
interest to put our money towards them,” Odum said.
“I unfortunately woke up to a handful of ‘All Lives Matter’ emails, but that’s to be expected.”
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