Chronology of Events


July 30, 2018

Landmarks Commission Chair Sarah Carroll, sent a letter informing the Strand of its intention to designate the Strand as a landmark to an incorrect address.

September 21, 2018

Nancy Wyden received only four (4) days’ notice of Landmark’s intention to put the Strand’s building on its agenda.  

September 25, 2018

Worried about the implications of landmarking for the Strand, Nancy Wyden and Strand general manager Eddie Sutton attended the calendaring meeting with Landmarks. 

October 5, 2018

Renovations were underway at the Strand when Wyden’s Architect was sent a notice from Landmarks and the Department of Buildings to stop all renovation work. The impending designation meant that the Strand Building was already under Landmarks’ control. All renovation work from this point onwards requires approval from Landmarks

October 17, 2018

After 12 days of no work, Wyden’s Architect is allowed to continue his work.

November 9, 2018

After six weeks of little to no communication, as the Strand was preparing for the holiday season, Nancy Wyden received an email about a public hearing about landmarking the Strand was officially calendared for December 4, 2018, a mere 25 days away.

November 21, 2018

Through the Strand’s lawyer, Alexander Urbelis, we requested that Landmarks adjourn its public hearing until after the Strand’s holiday season.

November 28, 2019

After 7 days of silence, Landmarks refused the adjourn its public hearing on December 4, 2018.

February 5, 2019

Alexander submits a Freedom of Information Law request to Landmarks for records regarding 826-828 Broadway. 

February 15, 2019

Nancy Wyden and Alexander Urbelis meet with Sarah Carroll and Landmarks.  At this meeting, Nancy Wyden and Alexander Urbelis propose even greater protection to the Strand’s building by voluntarily placing a preservation easement on the exterior of the building.

February 19, 2019

Landmarks held its second public hearing.  After testimony from Nancy Wyden, Alex Urbelis, Eddie Sutton, author Nicolaia Rips, from longtime Strand patron, Kilian Ganly, and many others, and after receiving the Strand’s petition containing over 6,000 signatures opposing landmarking, Chair Sarah Carroll made a statement stating that she would like to reject our proposal to voluntary place an easement on the building.  

February – March, 2019

Nancy Wyden and Alexander Urbelis met with preservationists and continued to work out the logistics of a preservation easement that could have protected the building and protected the Strand.

March 15, 2019

After weeks of waiting and half a dozen unanswered e-mails, Nancy Wyden and Alexander Urbelis met with the staff of the Speaker of the City Council, Corey Johnson, to discuss the Strand’s concerns.  Nothing came from this meeting.

March 26, 2019

Nancy Wyden and Alexander Urbelis met with Councilwoman Carlina Rivera and members of the NYC legal department to discuss the Strand’s concerns.  Nothing came from this meeting.  

March 27, 2019

Nancy Wyden and Alexander Urbelis met with Landmarks and presented their work and proposal for a preservation easement.  Landmarks rejected the proposal but could not offer an explain why. Landmarks said they would work with the Strand to provide the flexibility the book store needs to survive.  Landmarks never did this.

April – May, 2019

Nancy Wyden and Alexander Urbelis went back and forth with Landmarks about revising the designation report.  Strand staff performed historical research about the Strand’s building, and provided its findings to Landmarks.

May 6, 2019

Landmarks informed the Strand that it intended to vote on the Strand’s landmark designation on June 11.

May 16, 2019

Nancy Wyden and Alexander Urbelis met again with Landmarks.  This time, Landmarks made it clear that they would provide no protection to the Strand against bureaucratic excess.  Nancy Wyden and Alexander Urbelis still tried to work with Landmarks and proposed creation of a Master Plan.

May 16 – June 4, 2019

Nancy Wyden and Alexander Urbelis worked with several architects and specialists to make progress on a Master Plan for the Strand.  This was expensive and time-consuming.

June 4, 2019

Alex wrote to Landmarks and requested that they adjourn the June 11 so that the Strand could continue to work on a Master Plan to protect the book store.

June 7, 2019

Landmarks refused to adjourn its vote on the Strand.  Alexander Urbelis spent over an hour pleading with Landmarks’ staff to reconsider its decision to landmark the Strand without ever reviewing our plans, without the Strand’s buy-in, and without offering a shred of protection to the book store.  Landmarks refused.

June 10, 2019

Landmarks dumped thousands of pages of documents on us less than 24 hours before its vote to designate the Strand as a landmark.  These documents were responding to our FOIL request that was languishing at Landmarks since February 5, 2019.

June 11, 2019

Despite all our efforts and the protestations of thousands of New Yorkers, Landmarks voted unanimously to designate the Strand’s building as an NYC landmark.  The Strand held a press conference denouncing Landmarks’ vote that was widely covered in local and national media.

June 13, 2019

Illustrating the city’s failure to listen to anything the Strand said and his own failure to understand how landmarking works, Mayor de Blasio tweeted that the Strand is “one of the most special places in the city” and that it was landmarked to ensure that the Strand “can be enjoyed by New Yorkers for generations to come.”

June 26, 2019

Strand filed its FOIL appeal to contest the voluminous redactions and omissions in the thousands of documents Landmarks dumped on us in response to our FOIL request.

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