Bluestockings Shutters Allen Street Bookstore Amidst Pandemic Rent Hike

Posted on: July 23rd, 2020 at 5:05 am by

Bluestockings, the long-running feminist bookstore on Allen Street, is closing down for good. Leaving the space it’s called home for two decades.

Apparently the shutter is a double-whammy – due to both pandemic times and a landlord demanding more money.

“Due to so many unforeseen circumstances both pandemic-related and otherwise, we must leave our current location at 172 Allen St. in search of a new, more sustainable, accessible and safer home,” the announcement reads.

“Though we wish we were making this decision on our own terms, our decision has been forced by the demands of our landlord for more money and by their inaction on necessary repairs to the structural damage our wild little slice of space has endured over these last 21 years.”

This isn’t the first dust-up with the landlord, though. Ownership signed a five-year lease after a hike in 2015 with the help of a successful crowdfunding campaign. It also led to store renovations.

Bluestockings, for its part, says that “this is not goodbye,” and promises a new location soon. And that they’ve outgrown the Allen Street space and want better features that also accommodate the disabled (e.g. ramps, bathrooms, better ventilation).

Named for the 18th-century intellectual women in the Blue Stockings Society – the store opened at 172 Allen in 1999. Its current model as a collectively-run, worker-owned bookstore and activist center followed a brief closure in 2001. Since then, the establishment has been pushing left-leaning literature on topics such as feminism, queer and gender studies, global capitalism, climate & environment, police and prisons, and radical education. In fact, Bluestockings is reportedly designated one of only 13 remaining feminist-identified bookstores in North America.

Whether it remains on the Lower East Side is still a mystery.

The old storefront, June 2012

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