The Forest Hills Barnes & Noble, which could close in January due to an expiring lease, will be hosting a customer appreciation day event on Sunday to draw attention to its fight to remain in the neighborhood.
Lease negotiations are still underway between Barnes & Noble and landlord Muss Development for the 22,000-square foot space at 70-00 Austin St., according to representatives of the landowner. Talks originally broke down when the bookstore chose not to exercise its option to renew the lease for five more years because of an increase in rents.
Local author and preservationist Michael Perlman started a petition to save the bookstore on Change.org, which now has approximately 4,600 signatures. After hitting the goal of 5,000 signatures, the petition will be sent to politicians, Barnes & Noble representatives and the landlord.
The event on Sunday starts at 10 a.m., when there will be a raffle contest for a new Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 Nook 7.0 device. Residents and patrons are encouraged to purchase books to support the effort to keep the store open and the first 200 customers will receive a Barnes & Noble tote bag.
Perlman will hold a book signing at 5 p.m. for his latest work “Legendary Locals of Forest Hills and Rego Park,” and there will be free food from local restaurants such as Knish Nosh.
Also, in the afternoon there will also be performances by a clown, and musicians Lou Michaels and Doug Leblang.
Both Barnes & Noble and Muss Development officials have told The Courier that they want to find to a solution. However, the landlord has already started marketing the space for a new tenant.