The hits just keep on coming in 2016: Earlier this week, news broke that beloved Cobble Hill indie bookstore BookCourt would close after 35 years in business. Its demise is unusual in that it wasn’t driven by rent hikes, even though Court Street, where it’s located, is one of the most expensive retail strips in the country. Instead, its owners—a divorced couple who opened the store in 1981—decided they wanted to retire and close up shop.
That was sad enough; but before fans of the store even had time to get used to the fact that it would be going away, news then broke that Eastern Capital, led by Eli Hamway and Michael Shamah, bought the two buildings that house the bookstore for an estimated $13.6 million. According to The Real Deal, those buildings “will remain retail and residential-focused” but actual plans are TBD. The store’s last day, meanwhile, is December 31.
It’s been a rough year for Cobble Hill book lovers. Earlier this fall, the Community Bookstore, another neighborhood stalwart (albeit one where you were constantly in danger of being smushed by tall stacks of books—and not to be confused with the shop of the same name in Park Slope, which is still in business), closed. Its owner also wanted a break after decades in the retail business; the space it was in has since become an office for real estate brokerage Compass.
But for neighborhood residents who worry that they’ll be left without a bookstore, fear not: author Emma Straub noted that she and her husband, Michael Fusco, are in the process of opening their own bookstore close to the BookCourt location.