Queens book lovers are not ready to say goodbye to Barnes & Noble and want to make sure their voices are heard.
As a response to The Courier’s report on the closing of the Barnes & Noble Bayside location at The Bay Terrace shopping center — along with the location in Forest Hills, which will be replaced by a Target — supporters of the bookstore have started a Facebook page called “Keep Barnes & Noble Open in Queens.”
According to the About section of the Facebook page, which had garnered 1,713 likes as of Wednesday morning, it has been set up as in an effort to save the book chain locations in Queens, specifically at the last remaining site in Bayside.
“Watching family locations shut down in Queens is unsettling. Barnes & Noble has operated as the largest book selection center in Queens for more than 15 years, and its closure in this area would cause great inconvenience to families, professionals and book lovers who regard this as their ‘go-to’ bookstore,” according to a description on the page. “At the request of the Bayside, Flushing and Queens communities, the Bay Terrace Barnes & Noble lease must be renewed to preserve this educational center. The Bay Terrace Shopping Center is already home to many wonderful fashion and food retail stores. Why eliminate the most convenient, enriching core of The Bay Terrace mall?”
According to a representative from the property owner Cord Meyer Development, a HomeGoods store will take over the Bayside Barnes & Noble. The representative said that the property owner made repeated attempts at securing a long-term contract with the bookstore, but that Barnes & Noble decided not to exercise the option to renew the lease.
“Cord Meyer has not closed the book on B&N, and would welcome the bookstore back as a tenant in Bay Terrace, once they develop a business plan that would work in our shopping center,” the representative said.
Supporters of the page commented on their outrage with the closing of the Bayside location – which many saw as their favorite spot to grab a book with friends or children or during lunchtime breaks – and the Forest Hills site.
The comments also echoed the frustration felt by shoppers and residents in Forest Hills last week upon hearing the news of the store shutting its doors.
This Facebook page joins other efforts by book lovers in attempts to save the book chain, such a petition that was started earlier this year to keep the doors of the Forest Hills location open.
Even as residents tried desperately to keep the store open, Target announced last week it would be opening up its first-ever flexible-format store at the location by July 2016.
A Barnes & Noble in Fresh Meadows, near St. John’s University, also closed at the beginning of this year after failing to negotiate a lease extension and a T.J. Maxx will take over.