Barnes & Noble closing on Upper East Side

Bookseller reports it will lay off 64 employees; Target to move in

150 East 86th Street (Google Maps)
150 East 86th Street (Google Maps)

As New Yorkers on the Upper East Side transition to a city resembling one they can only remember, with open shops and other businesses, an Upper East Side Barnes & Noble will close, and a Target will open in its place.

The bookstore is closing its location at 150 East 86th Street after 12 years, and one of two new Targets headed for Manhattan will take its place. Target recently signed two new leases at Upper East Side and Upper West Side locations.

“The store has served us well over the years but is now too large, and too expensive, for our needs,” a Barnes & Noble spokesperson said in a statement. “It is always sad to close a store but we expect to return to the Upper East Side with a new bookstore before too long, and we are in active pursuit of a new site.”

Target signed a 20-year, 55,614-square-foot lease at Vornado Realty Trust’s 150 East 86th Street, and a 15-year, 23,562-square-foot deal at the Chetrit Group’s Columbus Square complex at 795 Columbus Avenue.

The mainstay retailer is eighth largest in the nation and has made good on its lease payments during the pandemic while other big chains have fallen behind — among them Bed Bath & Beyond, H&M and Gap, which closed many stores during widespread lockdowns.

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Considered an essential business, Target remained open along with other big-box stores such as Walmart and Home Depot.

For businesses that did shut down, Monday began New York City’s second phase of reopening which permits in-person service at a maximum of 50 percent occupancy. Customers and employees are required to wear masks and stay six feet away from each other.

Barnes & Noble recently notified the state’s Department of Labor that it plans to lay off all 64 employees at its 86th Street location in September. It has four other stores in Manhattan: 82nd Street and Broadway, 555 Fifth Avenue, 33 East 17th Street and 97 Warren Street in Tribeca.

The beleaguered company remains the nation’s largest bookseller. Last August it was acquired by Elliot Management, after years of its sales being eroded by Amazon.

You can reach Orion Jones at

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