September 16, 2011

T.C. Westcott
Vice President
Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art
51 Cooper Square
New York, NY 10003

Dear Ms. Westcott:

As the State Senator whose district includes St. Mark's Bookshop at 31 Third Avenue, I write to add my voice to those of other elected officials and community members who are rightfully concerned about the future of this venerable Lower East Side institution. I respectfully request that Cooper Union, in its capacity as landlord of St. Mark's Bookshop, offer the rent reduction sought by the shop's owners so that the store may continue to offer its unique and invaluable services to the neighborhood.

St. Mark's Bookshop is a decades-old neighborhood institution and a destination for book lovers from around the world, drawing both area residents and tourists who follow their guidebooks in search of the store's specialized selection. Like Cooper Union, the Bookshop is essential to the neighborhood's character. Unfortunately, like many small businesses, the Bookshop has struggled to generate sufficient revenue in this economic downturn to continue paying its current rent.

I understand that you have had several discussions with the bookstore's owners, its devoted patrons, and other elected officials over the past few months in regard to this issue, and I am encouraged to hear that the rent reduction request is currently under consideration by the Executive Committee of Cooper Union's Board of Trustees. I hope that they and you will agree that as a healthy not-for-profit institution whose mission is to foster and promote higher education, it is incumbent upon Cooper Union to provide a means for the Bookshop to weather this rough economic period.

Thank you for your consideration of my request.


Thomas K. Duane
New York State Senate
29th Senate District

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