The Strand, the famous Manhattan bookstore owned by Nancy Bass Wyden, the wife of U.S. Sen Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), is taking some heat for allegedly sprinkling the sidewalk areas under its awning in order to deter homeless New Yorkers from sleeping there.
The blog DNAinfo New York reported the allegations today.
Signs reading, “Warning: Sprinkler System Will Run Periodically From 10:30 PM-9:00 AM” were placed on the wall of the bookshop at the corner of East 12th Street and Broadway. Some homeless people said they were doused when they tried to sleep on the sidewalk in front of the store, store employees and the homeless said.
“It was to keep people from sleeping out there,” said a Strand bookseller who asked that her name not be used. “People used to sleep over there and in the morning we have to put out the book carts, so it was a little bit difficult and uncomfortable for some people."
Strand co-owner Nancy Bass Wyden — who is married to U.S. Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Oregon) and is the granddaughter of Strand founder Ben Bass, who opened the shop in 1927 — said in a brief phone interview Thursday that she was “not sure” about the reason for the sprinklers.