Rizzoli Bookstore Faces Wrecking Ball Again

Rizzoli Bookstore in Manhattan is confronting the prospect of having to relocate 29 years after it “fled Fifth Avenue two steps ahead of the wrecking ball,” and for a similar reason. The New York Times reported that the owners of the building at 31 West 57th Street that houses Rizzoli “recently gave the bookstore the bad news: They plan to demolish the six-story, 109-year-old building, as well as two small, adjoining buildings.” (Office space above the store includes the U.S. headquarters of Quercus Publishing.)

Although the LeFrak real estate family and Vornado Realty Trust declined to comment, “one executive who has been briefed on the plans said the owners hoped to find Rizzoli a new home. The executive said the developers had not decided whether to build a commercial or residential tower,” the Times wrote. Pam Sommers, a spokeswoman for Rizzoli New York, noted that the company is still gathering information.

“We’re losing yet another literary landmark in Midtown,” said Michael Signorelli, senior editor at Henry Holt. “Rizzoli has three magnificent floors of books.”

Peg Breen, president of the New York Landmarks Conservancy, added: “It’s sad if we also lose those three limestone mansions, which were converted to commercial uses decades ago. There will be very little left on 57th that shows how it used to be. I think bookstores in New York City need to be protected at all costs.”

I wonder if this means Peg Breen’s going to be able to do anything about it other than expressing regret. Of course New York City expresses its vigor by redeveloping its past with no more than passing regret. Land on 57th Street is just too valuable too be allowed to have a mere six floors on it.

(Story from Shelf Awareness 15 January 2014)

This link will take you to a petition to save the bookstore.

Later: Here’s news of it’s reappearance in a new location.