UPPER EAST SIDE — The Parks Department is looking for booksellers to submit bids for its stalls at Central Park that are now operated by the Strand.
The Oct. 19 request for proposals, first reported by The New York World, would grant the winning bidder a 5-year lease on the concession, which is made up of two bookstalls located on Fifth Avenue, between 60th and 61st streets.
Despite the call for applications, the Strand hasn't yet turned the page on its run at Central Park, according to the bookseller's general manager Eddie Sutton.
"This is a very normal thing to do," said Sutton, who has worked at the Strand's flagship at 828 Broadway on the corner of 12th Street for 21 years. "The city issues contracts that are up for renewal, and that's it."
"We've had the contract and we've not had the contract," he continued. "There's nothing about this that's different than every bid in the past. Contracts are bid on and won or lost."
According to Sutton, the Strand even took over another operator's lease in Central Park after that business encountered financial difficulties.
Financial information included in the request suggests business is brisk at the tony Fifth Avenue location, just across from the Plaza Hotel, after a slow start.
In 2008, the first year of the Strand's current contract, it pulled in $211,935.15 — the lowest amount in the past five years.
Last year, the Strand's stalls earned $328,033.61 — the highest during the period.
The annual fee paid to the city has ranged from $40,000 to $46,305.
The book stalls in Central Park have been in use since the 1960s, many of which were run by the Strand.
Proposals are due Nov. 27.