The Strand boasts that it has 18 miles of new, used and rare books, a landmark for any book lover.
But now its building is an actual city landmark, much to the horror of its owner.
The Landmarks Preservation Commission voted unanimously Tuesday to landmark the Strand's home, 828 Broadway, citing the building's architecture and its role as the book shop's home for more than 60 years.
"It's a historic institution that reflects the era of Book Row, when this part of New York City was the center of book selling," said Sarah Carroll, the Chair of the Landmarks Preservation Committee.
The vote came despite opposition from the Strand's owner, Nancy Bass Wyden, whose family bought the building 23 years ago, and a last-ditch appeal by the store's attorney.
The landmarks designation means the strand must seek city approval for significant renovations, down to the materials used those updates.
"What this amounts to is eminent domain -- landmarks itself now has complete power and dominion over our building and our future plans," said Wyden.
The Strand warned that the burdens of landmark status could lead to job reductions. But commissioners and preservation activists argued that predictions of disaster from business owners opposed to landmarking are overblown.
"Landmark designation is not a scary thing,” said Andrea Goldwyn, a member of the New York Landmarks Conservancy. “It's actually a beneficial thing that can unlock benefits like some of the financial assistance programs that we can provide."
The Strand sees this as a book with a potentially bad ending.
"The Strand, like all brick and mortar stores, is struggling. Landmark designation does not throw us a lifeline; it throws us a lead weight," said Alexander Urbelis.
While the commission's decision is final, the Strand's attorney says the fight isn't over yet. He's exploring their legal options for appealing in court.