As a former Strand employee I am zero percent surprised
The comments in that article are surprisingly hostile, occasionally racist and wholly vitriolic. Did I get linked to some wingnut blog without realizing it?
One the one hand, they're booksellers. On the other hand, they're New Yorkers. I think the inherent assholery in the latter cancels out the former.
Can't they just play opera like a normal business?
@2 - You were linked to the internet. Welcome to the internet.
In NYC, property owners are responsible for maintaining the sidewalk in front of their homes and businesses, and are liable for injuries that may result from improper maintenance. Additionally, you can be cited if you don't keep it clear of snow, ice, leaves, trash, feces, urine, etc. A family member was cited for urine on the sidewalk outside left by some enterprising individual.

The Strand might just be acting assholish to homeless people, but they're also legally responsible for keeping the sidewalk clean and clear. There is a possibility the sprinkler system was for that purpose.
My experience with homeless people came working in convenience and grocery stores, and if they were representative I can sympathize with the book store. Periodically we would have homeless people lock the door to the bathroom and use it to take a nap (or shoot up), wash themselves, raid our displays for napkins, cream and sugar, and whatever else they could take for free. Then there were the ones that always tried to make off with a can of steel reserve or some other malt liquor. With some of them it became a game - every couple of days we see them walk in, go to the cooler, put a can of malt liquor in a grocery bag they pull out of their pocket, then try to walk out the door. We would stop them, ask them to show as a receipt we knew did not exist, and take back the alcohol. Calling the police and trespassing them from the store got pointless (some of them got trespassed from every store in the area until they finally moved on).
So yes, I can feel sorry for homeless people in general (no one chooses that life), but when they foul up your workspace or business any time you do not actively try to keep them away, I sympathize with the business.

Crap! Sometimes I get entranced by all the porn and forget that this place is terrible sometimes. It's a wily beast.
They can just go home and dry off, right?
In Palm Springs they have these wonderful mister sprayers along above the sidewalk for the plants that go off every minute or so. It is really quite refreshing!

well not exactly home. Anna Minard who so passionately lets us know of the injustices done to the homeless, she's recently offered her home to many homeless people. So it's not exactly Joe and Jane Schmoe's home, Anna has like 8 homeless persons living with her at present, but Anna is very sweet to them, and she gives them some dog kibble in a bowl before she leaves for work.
Isn't this sort of treatment assault?
I recently found out my former favorite bookstore is owned by a member of the Tea Party. Since I found out, I haven't wanted to go back, but I have book credit that needs to be spent! I'm considering just going in and buying a bunch of the most liberal stuff I can find, any suggestions?

I definitely sympathize with businesses for that very reason.

I interviewed for a job in Pioneer Square several years ago. One of my job tasks would have been to watch the exterior camera and lock the door remotely anytime someone who appeared to be homeless tried to walk in. It's shitty, but keeping a homeless person out in the first place would likely be less uncomfortable for them, me, and legitimate customers than having to ask that person to leave the second they walked in the door.

That said, surely the Strand could have come up with a better way to discourage sleeping in front of the store. Place a lot of heavy and/or uncomfortable obstacles outside when they close up for the night? Play classical music? They could have done any number of things that don't run the risk of giving homeless people hypothermia.
This seems no more heartless than homeless people being subject to arrest or at least ticketing in Seattle for sitting on the sidewalk.

Does Paul Constant have any extra bedrooms.

Then instead of going back to sleep, why doesn't he house and feed a homeless person at his own expense.

A grip of homeless dudes hanging out in front of your store is probably terrible for business
Find several of the most repulsive porn magazines you can get. Go into the store and use your credit for whatever you want but leave the porn hidden through out the store . Bang, you're even.
@15 Yyyyyep
I think most homeless people try to hide it, the individuals you see panhandling are invariably heroin addicts or folks with other severe substance abuse problems and aren't always really homeless. People who lack shelter are mostly just like you or me, only less lucky. The street people who are so visible aren't really representative of the vast number of individuals and families who lack access to decent housing.
I don't blame the exasperated small business people like this book store. I blame the lack of comprehensive mental health and substance abuse treatment beds, and the decades long attack on working people, small business, and the poor by corporate special interests.
Couldn't they just get 'em a few rooms at the Waldorf?
New York has a right to shelter law, so there's no reason why anyone should be sleeping outside the Strand. Since the Guiliani years, they've combined that with tough enforcement of other laws.

Seems a hell of a lot more humane for homeless folks and better for the community than what we do here.

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