The Barnes & Noble on Union Turnpike in Fresh
Meadows is set to close at the end of the year.
Patrons of the store have started an online petition
to keep it open. Photo by Joe Marvilli.
BY JOE MARVILLI
Although a Queens Barnes & Noble branch is due to close by the end of the year, several fans of the location are not willing to let it disappear without a fight.
The Barnes & Noble located at 176-60 Union Tpke., Fresh Meadows is set to close by the end of December, after it could not negotiate a new lease with the property owner, Wharton Realty Group. However, residents are hoping an online petition will help keep the bookseller in the community, where it has been a fixture for the last decade.
At www.ipetitions.com, 464 people have signed a petition to save the Union Turnpike Barnes & Noble, as of press time, with an overall goal of 500 names. Those signatures came together within a week of the petition going live.
“This store is an integral and meaningful part of Fresh Meadows and Kew Gardens Hills,” the petition reads. “We, the undersigned book-lovers of Queens, strongly urge the Barnes & Noble management and property owners to work out a lease of this store, and preserve an integral element of our community.”
Several residents that signed on to the petition expressed their hope that a store that gave them much enjoyment over the last decade would remain in place.
“Please keep the Fresh Meadows Barnes and Noble open! It is a great resource to students of all levels and a source of pleasure to the general community,” Victoria DiMartino said with her signature. “Don’t close this neighborhood gem.”
As it stands, a T.J. Maxx clothing store will move into the spot for 2015. David Deason, vice president of development at Barnes & Noble, said that the company tried to negotiate a lease extension with Wharton, but discussions were unsuccessful. Its lease will expire on Jan. 31, 2015.
“We had discussions with the property owner to try to structure a lease extension, but were not able to come to an agreement,” he said. “We enjoyed serving our St. John’s [University]/Fresh Meadows area customers for the last 10 years and look forward to continuing to serve them at the nearby Bayside location.”
This is the second major business on the same block of Union Turnpike to close this year. On June 27, the popular Sly Fox Inn shut down, after 37 years. The owner, Ed Moore, said the rent became too expensive for him to handle.
The Fresh Meadows Barnes & Noble is one of three branches in Queens, along with those in Bay Terrace and Forest Hills. The Bay Terrace store is located at 23-80 Bell Blvd. The Forest Hills location is at 70-00 Austin St.
When asked to comment on the loss of the nearby resource for students, St. John’s University said it is against its policy to comment on other businesses or organizations that are not affiliated with the college.
While it may be closing soon, Barnes & Noble Fresh Meadows has its usual weekly storytime on Saturdays and children’s storytime on Sunday on its calendar for the rest of the year. The bookstore is also holding a book fair for PS 33 all day on Nov. 6 and 7.
To sign the petition, go to www.ipetitions.com/petition/save-the-union-turnpike-barnes-noble.
Reach Joe Marvilli at (718) 357-7400, Ext. 125, email@example.com, or @JoeMarvilli.