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Just a week ago, it looked like all was lost for St. Mark's Bookshop, the East Village institution faced with losing its lease due to shaky finances. But after landlord Cooper Union refused to grant the bookstore a break on the rent, Manhattan borough president Scott Stringer stepped in. On Tuesday, he was able to broker a deal between the two parties. Cooper Union will shrink the store's rent for a year (from $20,000 a month down to $17,000 a month), forgive $7000 in debt, and send over students to help St. Mark's owners revise their business plan.
Cooper Union hasn't exactly survived the recession unscathed: On Monday, the school said that it might start charging tuition after years of providing education for free. Still, President Jamshed Bharucha says it was important to preserve St. Mark's Bookshop because of what it means to the community—although he's also hoping the owners will find a viable business model soon. As for Stringer, he says he knows firsthand what a good indie bookstore can mean to locals: “In my neighborhood, on the Upper West Side, when Shakespeare and Company went out of business, West Siders lost something that they couldn’t get back," he told the Times.
· Cooper Union Refuses to Reduce St. Mark's Bookshop's Rent [Racked NY]
· Rent Deal Aids Ailing East Village Bookstore [NYT]
· Cooper Union Looks at Charging Tuition [NYT]