There's plenty of commentary on the matter. Jeremiah Moss writes an Open Letter to Cooper Union today at Vanishing New York. He outlines how Cooper Union has helped usher in "a tsunami of hyper-gentrification," from the Bowery Bar to the glassy hell of 1 Astor Place to the destruction of 35 Cooper Square.
If St. Mark's Books is forced to close due to unyielding rent, whatever business moves into their space at 31 Third Avenue will be boycotted and protested by the thousands of people who read this blog and all the blogs connected to it. Nothing will thrive there--no bank, no cupcake shop, no kitten adoption center.
Meanwhile, Rob at Save the Lower East Side has more pointed commentary.
Peter Cooper himself was all about giving back to the community. Peter must have long ago tired of spinning in his grave over what has become of his life's dream, free higher education for the working class. How many ways can Cooper Union spell "betrayal"?
He goes on to wonder if the neighborhood even deserves the bookshop.
The NYU students have their own bookstore, filled with all the books they need and more than they can handle. As for the rest of the neighborhood, this place is a youth destination for children of means, not an intellectual or countercultural destination anymore. It's heart is commerce now, not anarchy. Freedom must be purchased, and it exacts many prices.
And you know about the petition to save St. Mark's Bookshop. It's here.
Meanwhile, there was a robust discussion on the topic on the last EVG post here.
[Photo via John Roca the Daily News. Read their article here.]