Empty shelves: Patrons lament demise of Bay Terrace Barnes & Noble

A child reads near a cordoned-off section of empty bookshelves.
THE COURIER/Photos by Alina Suriel

Book lovers continue to mourn the loss of the last Barnes and Noble book stores in the “World’s Borough.”

Queens said goodbye to Barnes and Noble’s Bay Terrace and Forest Hills locations on Thursday. According to representatives of the Bay Terrace Shopping Center, a HomeGoods store will take over the site.

Mario Vidal — a former Barnes and Noble employee who worked at a branch in Manhasset — said that he saw firsthand how the franchise sold less merchandise as more and more customers switched over to digital tablets and e-books instead of old-fashioned paper editions.

“I’m going to miss it,” Vidal said. “All these bookstores are closing as a result of the digital era of books that is kind of eating up all those sales.”

Longtime Barnes and Noble customer Joe Fischer said that he spent a lot of time in the store because it was within walking distance of his home. According to Fischer, there are not many other bookstores nearby.

“How can it be that there’s no bookstore in a place like this? They couldn’t find a way to keep this bookstore open?” Fischer lamented. “The neighborhood is going to miss this place.”

Nick Napoli, a Bay Terrace Barnes and Noble patron for 15 years, brought his 11-year-old son Nicholas to the store on its last day open. He said that he would be less likely to visit other Barnes and Noble locations, such as ones located further away in Manhasset or Lake Success.

“I am sad that this one’s closing,” Napoli said. “It’s very convenient to where we live.”

Louise Perlowitz visited the Bay Terrace bookstore with her daughter on the last day of business. She said that Barnes and Noble was one of her favorite options for gift shopping.

“It’s a shame that it’s closing because the best gift you can give someone is a book,” Perlowitz said.