By Chance, St. Mark’s Bookshop Supporters Meet With Cooper Union President

Screen shot 2011-10-25 at 12.56.25 PMJamie LarsonJamshed Bharucha and Joyce Ravitz.

With the aid of some fortunate timing, the petition asking Cooper Union to grant a $5,000-per-month rent break to the St. Mark’s Bookshop was delivered right into the hands of the school’s president, Jamshed Bharucha, shortly after noon today.

According to Joyce Ravitz, president of the Cooper Square Committee, the group’s phone calls to set up a time to meet with Mr. Bharucha today had not been returned, but when they walked into the lobby of the Cooper Union Foundation Building, they found him walking towards the door. Ms. Ravitz flagged down the president and handed him a box full of comments as well as 43,789 signatures. Mr. Bharucha invited Ms. Ravitz, a couple of her supporters and The Local up to his office for an impromptu discussion.

Mr. Bharucha estimated, from e-mails he had received, that there were probably close to 50,000 supporters of the bookshop in the neighborhood and around the world.

“We understand fully the passions people have about the St. Mark’s Bookshop. It’s a very iconic place,” he said. “[The store] has obviously worked its way into the hearts of 50,000 people.”

Mr. Bharucha then voiced some criticism about the petition’s focus, telling the Committee members that he wished it had included language encouraging people to buy books at the shop.

“If everybody [who signed the petition] had bought a book at $14.95, they’d be in business for years,” the president said.

Yesterday, a representative of Cooper Union told The Local that a decision on the Bookshop’s rent was expected by the end of the month.