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Penn Books Shuttered by $45K-a-Month Rent, Owner Says

By Rosa Goldensohn | May 1, 2015 12:04pm | Updated on May 1, 2015 6:15pm

MIDTOWN WEST — Penn Books, a decades-old independent bookshop in Penn Station, was closed and empty as of Friday.

Before the bookstore shuttered recently, owner Craig Newman had posted a March plea for help to stay open on Facebook.

"I am trying to survive but it gets harder every day," he wrote. "My rent is now a staggering 45000 a month, not including property taxes and another 20,000 a year in commercial rent tax if anybody can do anything or cares about saving my bookstore, please HELP."

Newman had spoken in March about the extinction of independent stores in a video for #SaveNYC, a group trying to help the city's small businesses. The closure was first reported on Jeremiah's Vanishing New York, the site that started #SaveNYC.


Newman told DNAinfo New York in March that the store was struggling, but he didn't want to raise alarm among his creditors or start a fight with his landlord, Vornado Realty Trust. 

Vornado's head spoke lovingly of rent hikes in Penn Station in March. 

“There is no reason that we cannot achieve very, very substantial rising rents in Penn Plaza — very substantial, enormous — with a little TLC,” Vornado Chief Executive Steven Roth said at a Citigroup meeting, the Washington Post reported.

Vornado did not immediately respond to a request for comment and Newman could not be reached.

On Yelp, fans of the bookstore praised its customer service and selection and decried its closing. 

"Penn Books is a small haven inside the chaos that is Penn Station," said Yelp user Danya M.