Talk about getting in the good books!
Fort Green’s Greenlight Bookstore has inked a deal to open an outlet inside a controversial new Prospect Lefferts Gardens apartment building next year, and locals say the developer made a canny decision recruiting such a beloved store to its hated high-rise.
“I think it’s incredibly shrewd,” said Tim Thomas, author of neighborhood blog the Q at Parkside and Community Board 9 member. “The ties with the community will be nearly instantaneous.”
The store will occupy part of the still-rising 626 Flatbush development — a 23-story building that many neighbors fought to stop, arguing it will cast a shadow over nearby Prospect Park — alongside local pre-school the Maple Street School, which already signed a lease earlier this year.
Some residents may not love the structure above it, but Greenlight’s owners believe their emporium will be a boon to the currently bookstore-barren neighborhood.
“If you look at that geographical part of Brooklyn, you have to go pretty far to find a bookstore,” said Greenlight co-owner Rebecca Fitting, a Prospect Lefferts Gardens resident herself.
Greenlight, which has been slinging titles at Fulton and S. Portland streets since 2009, often partners with other local outfits like the Brooklyn Academy of Music and St. Joseph’s College to host readings with big-name authors — in October alone, it staged events with Ta-Nehisi Coates, Kristen Hersh, and Gloria Steinem — and the book dealers say they plan to continue that tradition in the new location.
“Our hope is to do that model in a Prospect Lefferts Gardens kind of way,” said co-owner Jessica Stockton-Bagnulo. “It won’t be exactly like that store, but it will use that model of partnering with local institutions to do what’s right for that neighborhood.”
Thomas doesn’t think the high-rise-haters will hold Greenlight’s new location against it. In fact, the store — which often hosts politically-charged readings and authors — may count the activists who fought the building amongst its new customers, he said.
“I don’t think Greenlight will suffer,” he said. “It’s a great store, with not a little bit of anti-establishment bent … and even the 626 fighters will undoubtedly shop there with a clear conscience.”