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Posted: Jan 20 2017 at 11:17am By Administrator
Letter writing drive to bring Barnes & Noble back to the Bronx begins in Co-op City
Assemblyman Michael Benedetto said a letter-writing drive to return Barnes & Noble brick and mortar location to the Bronx will begin next month, February 2017, with school children and community leaders from Co-op City and its surrounding communities being the first to get on-board.
"We cannot let a Bronx-based Barnes & Noble store go by the wayside. It is too important to the cultural and educational life of the borough," the Assemblyman told the Co-op City Times this week. "We must mobilize the entire Bronx."
The assemblyman said that mobilization will begin in his district, the 82nd Assembly district in February 2017 as each school in the district, including the six in Co-op City, will be pressed into action as students will be given sample letters or the option of writing their own about the importance of keeping a Barnes & Noble store in the Bronx, and sending those letters to the corporate headquarters of Barnes & Noble.
Assemblyman Benedetto said that he would also recruit the community organizations throughout the district to have their members do the same as the students, send letters directly to Barnes & Noble requesting that the bookseller return to the Bronx in the not too distant future.
The Barnes & Noble store in Bay Plaza closed at the end of 2016. The impending closing of the store, which had been a fixture in Bay Plaza since 1999 was made public in October after attempts to negotiate a new lease with the shopping center's owner, Prestige Properties, failed. A few weeks later, it was revealed that a Saks clothing store [See Saks Fifth Avenue Signs Deal To Bring Store To Bay Plaza] will soon be occupying the space that Barnes & Noble occupied for more than 17 years.
Assemblyman Benedetto promised in late October that he would launch a campaign designed to pressure the book seller to return to the Bronx as the borough's only major book store outside of a college campus.
"When Barnes & Noble made its decision to leave the Bronx I vowed that we would hold them to their commitment to return within 24 to 36 months," stated Assemblyman Benedetto. "We are going to pursue a coordinated, borough-wide letter writing campaign to remind Barnes & Noble about its promise to return to the Bronx."
The campaign, which will be organized in Assemblyman Benedetto's Co-op City office by his legislative aide Leon Tulton, will elicit the support of all his Assembly colleagues to send Barnes & Noble the message.
Assemblyman Benedetto said that all of the Assembly members representing Bronx communities will be part of this effort. He said, that following the 82nd Assembly District's letter-writing campaign in February, the people of the 80th Assembly District comprised of Pelham Parkway, Morris Park, Allerton and Pelham Gardens, to name a few, will be participating under the leadership of their Assemblyman Mark Gjonaj. Other Assembly Districts will follow in the months to come until it comes around again to the 82nd District.
Benedetto promised that the letter-writing campaign will last for well over a year if that is what it takes to get a commitment from Barnes & Noble to return to the Bronx.
"This way, the entire Bronx will present a united effort," the Assemblyman said. "Every month, letters will be finding their way to Barnes & Noble's main office and, hopefully, this collaboration will result in a new Barnes & Noble for the Bronx."
The campaign will enlist community organizations, schools, building associations and any other interested parties all around the Bronx to send letters to the bookseller's main office.
The letters will detail the importance that Barnes & Noble means to the Bronx and its residents and reinforce the company's promise to return.
Volunteers who wish to join this effort should call Leon Tulton at (718)320-2220.
By Bill Stuttig
Coop City Times is now online