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The Strand’s owner will sue city over building’s landmark status

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Plus, a lawsuit against a Queens bus lane is dismissed—and more intel in our New York Minute news roundup

A historic building with a red awning on its exterior. The awning reads “Strand Bookstore.”
The Strand’s Broadway building became a landmark earlier this year.
Shutterstock

Good morning, and welcome to New York Minute, a new roundup of the New York City news you need to know about today. Send stories you think should be included to tips@curbed.com.

The Strand vs. the Landmarks Preservation Commission continues

The building that houses the Strand Book Store was designated a New York City landmark earlier this year, and this week, the City Council voted to codify that status. But the iconic shop’s owner, Nancy Bass Wyden, has vowed to continue her fight to stop the city; according to the New York Daily News, she plans to file a lawsuit to overturn the landmark designation.

Greenwich Village activists pushed to landmark the building at 826 Broadway as part of a larger campaign to preserve seven buildings along that stretch. But Wyden, whose family has owned the iconic bookstore since it opened in 1927, has fought the preservation process from the get-go, saying that the costs associated with upkeep when a building is a landmark would be onerous. “By landmarking the Strand, you can also destroy a piece of New York history,” she told the New York Times in 2018.

Wyden’s lawyer, Alex Urbelis, told the Daily News that she plans to sue the LPC “to start,” with the store owner claiming that the landmark designation violates her Fifth Amendment rights. “They picked the wrong bookstore and they certainly picked the wrong woman,” Urbelis said.

A Queens bus lane can proceed, judge says

Score one for transit advocates: On Monday, a Queens judge dismissed a lawsuit that sought to rip out a bus lane that was recently installed on Fresh Pond Road in Ridgewood. According to Streetsblog, Queens Supreme Court Justice Joseph Esposito took the lawyer representing the plaintiffs, Arthur Schwartz, to task over his (and his clients’) resistance to change.

“I’m a car driver. I don’t like change either,” Esposito said in remarks delivered during the hearing. “But it’s not about me. It’s not about a narrow group of people who use the roads anymore. You have car drivers, truck drivers, bus riders, pedestrians and cyclists — and everybody has to share the road.”

As Streetsblog notes, this is a victory for both the city and safe streets advocates, who are still fighting a lawsuit against the 14th Street busway. Schwartz is representing the plaintiffs in that case, too.

And in other news…

  • Some new details on the rentals that will replace the former Hell’s Angels HQ on East 3rd Street.
  • Another food hall, this one with Danny Meyer’s involvement, is coming to Dock 72 at the Brooklyn Navy Yard.
  • Josef Albers’s “Manhattan,” an enormous mural that hangs in the lobby of the Met Life building, is getting spruced up.
  • Seven years of ridiculous—or, in the author’s words, douchey—real estate ads.
  • Gov. Andrew Cuomo was on hand to break ground on the new Islanders arena at Belmont Park, which is expected to cost a whopping $1.3 billion and will include LIRR upgrades.
  • NYC’s Parks Department will review the ad hoc parking lot that occupies public space at Brooklyn Borough Hall, where—shocker—placard abuse appears to run rampant.
  • And finally, the Brooklyn Nets unveiled a new court design at the Barclays Center that was inspired by “the numerous playground courts found throughout the borough; the brownstone-lined streets and Brooklyn’s industrial foundation,” according to the team. It also incorporates subway tile, because New York. Take a look: