BROADWAY BOOKSELLER BEATS CHARGE, AS POLICE CONTINUE TO SEIZE BOOKS

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Police continued to confiscate books from booksellers on Broadway this month. Photo by a tipster who wished to remain anonymous.

Kirk Davidson, who sells books on Broadway between 72nd and 74th Streets, beat a charge of leaving unattended property at his book stands.

davidsonDavidson, in an interview with the New York Times, said the city is wasting time and money cracking down on his operation. The latest charge was thrown out because the NYPD apparently filled out the wrong section of the city’s administrative code. Davidson still faces another charge for leaving unattended property.

The first book seizure occurred in early July and forced Davidson to stop selling books briefly, but he was back within a couple of weeks.

Councilwoman Helen Rosenthal has supported the book confiscations and is considering introducing a bill that would ban vendors from high-traffic sidewalks.

Davidson has successfully sued the city in the past for seizing the books, according to the Times.

He habitually fires back after a dismissed summons by suing the city for unlawful enforcement and seizure of his books. His settlements, he said, have exceeded $80,000 over the years.

“It’s a job in itself,” Mr. Davidson said of the civil suits.

“That’s what he lives off of — he actually wants us to take them,” Ms. Rosenthal said, referring to the books.

NEWS | 86 comments | permalink
    1. dannyboy says:

      I love books!

    2. dannyboy says:

      “‘That’s what he lives off of — he actually wants us to take them,’ Ms. Rosenthal said, referring to the books.”

      Hey, Ms Rosenthal, how can you malign a guy working in this heat when there are no City Council Committee Hearings in July and August?

      And when I do try to see what you are contributing, I read this on your website: ” While many book vendors abide by the law, the booksellers at 73rd and Broadway and at 68th and Broadway leave their books unattended overnight on a regular basis. The 20th precinct has issued a number of violations for leaving goods unattended to both booksellers.” Why single out this man and bring the full-force of your office against him? That quip above was of a sore-loser.

    3. denaliboy says:

      This is why the city is going to hell. Maybe next time police can complete proper form and get this guy the hell out of UWS

    4. Jeff says:

      The amount of taxpayer money and resources being devoted to this is getting a bit ridiculous.

      We’re paying to deploy two police officers around the clock to monitor a bookseller. We’re shelling out tens of thousands of dollars to administer summonses and pay settlements. Helen Rosenthal is making almost $150,000/year and using her time to advance legislation aimed at one guy selling books.

      I live at 72nd & Broadway. I understand why some people don’t like the books. But it’s New York. You’re going to walk past stuff you don’t find attractive every single day. Let’s take a deep breath and move on to bigger problems.

      • Les says:

        It’s not that we don’t like books. We love books. It’s that we don’t like 4 or 5 men sitting around all day at Broadway and 73rd playing loud music, hassling people and, apparently, justifying this on the basis of a table or two of used books. Isn’t loitering still a thing?

        • Jeff says:

          Les, c’mon. I’ve lived at this corner for five years. The guys aren’t “playing loud music and hassling people.” You make it sound like some gritty scene from ’80s NYC.

          I’m all for insisting that the booksellers be good citizens – and I’m not saying they’ve always been perfect – but let’s not misrepresent the situation.

          • geoff says:

            yeah, i’ve lived in the nieghborhood since the seventies. this stuff comes and goes. and who is this ‘WE’ everyone refers to. there’s no ‘we’. it’s just you, my friend. speak for yourself. and what about all those guys selling vegetables. get on their case. some of them are out there 24 hours! i’ve seen them sleeping out there, late at night. are they allowed to sleep on the streets? at what point does your crazy paranoia stop? people say they’re ‘terrified’, ‘frightened’, ‘scared’, ‘disgusted’. want to see disgusting? i’ll show you disgusting.

          • SFR says:

            Talk to the people on the lower floors of the Alexandria – they loose a lot of sleep because of late night partying and loud music at all hours. This problem is real for them.

            • Ish Kabibble says:

              SFR sounds like an eyewitness. Meanwhile, I sure hope he doesn’t ‘loose’ his memory.

      • mikethefish says:

        Everyone before Giuliani had that same loser attitude as well.

        • Mark says:

          Your racist ex mayor was and still is a scumbag. Your mentality towards these book vendors is the same kind of mindset that allowed the police to murder Eric Garner. Get over yourself and put on your big boy pants, this is New York City, either get over it or move someplace else.

    5. Top says:

      Just pass an Fn law that clearly prohibits this.

      No one wants these guys on the sidewalk, not pedestrians, not property owners, not businesses renting stores, no one.

      You want to sell books, rent a store and sell books. Otherwise, lets use the streets for what they are meant to be used for, walking. And if not, then why not put stands on the road or in the middle of the baseball fields in central park or at the entrance to the midtown tunnel.

      • dannyboy says:

        “No one wants these guys on the sidewalk, not pedestrians, not property owners, not businesses renting stores, no one.” – Top

        No one?

        I believe this to be an innacurate statement.

        • Tom Lee says:

          This coming from someone who has likely never bought a book from these guys or even knows someone who has.

          It’s a sidewalk – what do you think that it should be used for? Hint, the word “walk” might give you a clue.

          Selling used books is certainly not what sidewalks were made for, and they certainly were not made or paid by tax payers to be kept in shape, to serve as a place to store used books.

          Maybe you don’t pay taxes or leave your apartment so you don’t much care.

          • dannyboy says:

            Wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong and wrong.

            I have bought boods AND know someone who has.

            “It’s a sidewalk – what do you think that it should be used for?” Walking and BOOKSELLING.

            “Selling used books is certainly not what sidewalks were made for” That IS one of the purposes of sidewalks.

            “Maybe you don’t pay taxes or leave your apartment so you don’t much care.” I DEFINITELY PAY TAXES. In fact longer than you have in NYC, so I guess you’re using ‘my’sidewalk.

            I just returned home from a wonderful day out in my neighborhood. And no WRONG-headed person’s gonna’ change that.

        • dannyboy says:

          Being hilarious is a gift to others.

          Unlike:

          “Oh, Dannyboy, the pipes, the pipes are calling…go answer them and give us all a break” WHICH IS BOTH RUDE AND NASTY.

          “Dboy, do you really think it’s not obvious when you post under multiple names?” WHICH IS BOTH AN ACCUSATION AND FALSE.

          Try humor, it is a more generous act.

      • Jay says:

        There already is a law and the police are trying to enforce it (sometimes).

        If Kirk and those who support him have a problem with the law, then they can petition their representatives to change it. Until then… I’m glad to see the police actually enforcing the law. Maybe they can continue enforcing other laws they continuously ignore

      • dannyboy says:

        “You want to sell books, rent a store and sell books.”

        Well public spaces are for walking AND book stalls.

        • Jose says:

          Dannyboy,
          Please provide your address and I am willing to bet there are a number of WSR readers who would be happy to set up a 24-hour book store on your front steps, or the sidewalk right next to your front steps. And we can set up one of those new internet portals there too to make sure the sellers have an optimal selling experience.

    6. Sean says:

      Dirty disgusting tables filled with trash. You want books go to a library. Y’all love Kirk so much take him to tea. The sidewalk is for everyone not just some bookseller. These clowns sit up against the wall outside Chase all the time. Let’s all do it. See how that goes.

      • dannyboy says:

        “These clowns sit up against the wall outside Chase all the time. Let’s all do it. See how that goes.” – Sean

        I gotta’ see this!

      • Effy says:

        Wonderfully stated. People keep saying “this is New York”. Yes, it is, not some third world cesspool. Want cheap books? We have something even better, free books! Support our public libraries, not vagrants.

    7. Nathan says:

      Why doesn’t he just, I don’t know, put his books away at night? All the other street vendors do it. How hard could it be?

      • Leon says:

        Amen. Though this would not necessarily resolve the issues people have expressed about the behavior of the booksellers, I think this would make people a lot happier.

      • anon says:

        I’m guessing his mother declined to instill any values suitable for a civilized society in him as a child.

        This guy is just the grown-up version of a brat. Unfortunately we all have to deal with his endless tantrum-like behavior.

        • dannyboy says:

          critique of his mother’s child-rearing?

          yikes, again

        • kellycares says:

          I have spoken to the fellow several times and he is gracious and engaging, and I see his bookstall as a form of recycling since so many are donated to him. There are so few places that will actually take used books nowadays. The libraries have cut back on when they will take books and what kinds of books. I guess we can just throw used books into the trash heap and contribute to further environmental problems.
          He has been here for so many years that I see him as a fixture in the community. He adds to the character of the UWS. At least he is not sitting on the sidewalk with his Starbucks latte and Apple cell phone pretending to be homeless and begging for money like so many I see in the area. There are a lot more pressing quality of life issues on the UWS that I see as a priority than a harmless man trying to see some used books!
          The man is a VET and served our country in Vietnam as I understand it. I’d rather the police hand out tickets to the folks who do not clean up after their dogs. Cleaning poop off your shoes from the sidewalk–now THAT is disgusting!

    8. lashawn says:

      1. This book seller competes against other book stores on the UWS, except he doesn’t have to pay taxes. Does he have to pay a permit price to sell books?

      2. The books tables are in disarray. They are not well maintained and not nice to look at in my opinion. Perhaps I am in the minority.

      3. Let’s test this idea that anyone can sell books on the street, by universalizing it. Imagine everyone decided to leave their junk on the street all day long (or treasure). It would be terrible.

      4. I have never actually seen someone buy books from this person. Has anyone? Has anyone consistently?

    9. JDP says:

      “Davidson, in an interview with the New York Times, said the city is wasting time and money cracking down on his operation.”

      Hah.. almost sounds like a confession.

      • dannyboy says:

        “the city is wasting time and money” sounds likemost Cooments on WSR. No confession, but a keen observation.

    10. the_the says:

      The reason they go after Kirk is because he was (and still is) the guy who employs the low life characters that manned the many tables Kirk had set up on Broadway.
      Kind of like going after the kingpin drug dealer.
      In a prior WSR article even Kirk admitted that he was hiring alcoholics and drug addicts.
      These guys, hassling pedestrians and leaving their unattended junk on the sidewalk 24 hours a day need to be gone.
      I personally welcome a 24 hour police presence near a busy intersection – would you guys rather have them sitting at the precinct?
      I understand the constitutional right to sell books on the street without a permit but they need to run their business by the law and pack up and haul away their wares when they leave for the day (which they used to do up to about 10 years ago).

    11. Enough is Enough says:

      This guy sounds like even more of a complete jerk now. Made off with $80k in lawsuits. About time somebody does something to end this charade. This is NYC after all. “Problems” can be taken care of. A can of gas and a match to that disgusting flea ridden pile of books will bring this situation to an abrupt end. And any bleeding heart who so desperately wants to buy a dirty book from this scumbag, go to a real bookseller who pays rent and has a store.

    12. josh says:

      If any one group of people in this city love and appreciate books, it is UWSers. However, it is the method and operations that Kirk uses that so many of us find objectionable. Go up to Symphony Space and see how they present the used books for sale. That, my friends, is how you do it.

      • dannyboy says:

        “Go up to Symphony Space and see how they present the used books for sale. That, my friends, is how you do it.” josh

        You gonna’ fund a marquis?

        You do know that they acquired Symphony Space for FREE. Kirk’s gotta’ work for his money.

        • Juan says:

          OK, Mr. Literal. How about the folks outside Zabar’s? They don’t bother anyone, present their books nicely in a relatively small area and take them home at night.

          • dannyboy says:

            I love “the folks outside Zabar’s? They don’t bother anyone, present their books nicely in a relatively small area and take them home at night.”

            I got enough love for them toI do love books!

    13. Sarah says:

      Why aren’t you all mad at the cops, who apparently can’t even fill out a summons right? I’m not against the booksellers. I am against violating the very reasonable ordinances regulating their behavior. But what is up with the police that they can’t enforce those regulations without screwing up to the tune of $80K?

    14. Greg says:

      They will be gone for good soon enough.

    15. My 2¢ says:

      Caring local politicos, reasonable NYPD had a duty to respond to complaints.
      Grateful to see these vendors at night when stores are closed and some vacated, these guys are a crime deterrent and should be applauded.
      The upshot is now there are fewer tables, area is cleaner and only two men usually speaking to customers/neighbors. Perhaps someone could make an attractive cover to protect his inventory so he may continue to make a living.
      This book vendor is a long time UWS fixture has managed the ”elements” in the streets.
      This particular vendor is well liked and a veteran respectfully, he served this nation. What about making him an offer of consideration, gifts or assisting in a job, relocation whatever he needs this particular vendor is wholly deserving.

    16. nycityny says:

      Rosenthal wants to ban sellers from high-traffic sidewalks?! Why would anyone want to sell anything in low traffic areas? As if it’s better to market products where no customers exist. It makes no sense. And would the cops actually check the right box to show they’re enforcing her new ridiculous, anti-capitalist law?

    17. jezbel says:

      NYC is my home too and after living on the Upper West Side for so long, I’d really like to see them gone. For the brief time they were off the street, I had actually forgotten what it was like to have an open sidewalk near 72nd St. It was a joy. The sidewalks are so crowded already, strollers (the side-by-sides) take up space, Fairway customers gawking plus their delivery service leaving unattended carts stacked with groceries plus the locals & tourists. Let’s face it there are lots of people here with more apartments going in every week. The last thing we need are more vendors on the sidewalk.(FWIW)

      • dannyboy says:

        Are you suggesting that after the booksellers are removed, the Police go after:
        (1) strollers (the side-by-sides) take up space,

        (2)Fairway customers gawking

        (3)plus their delivery service leaving unattended carts stacked with groceries

        (4)plus the locals & tourists.

        “Let’s face it there are lots of people here with more apartments going in every week.”

        • UWS-er says:

          Oh, Dannyboy, the pipes, the pipes are calling…go answer them and give us all a break

          • dannyboy says:

            UWS-er

            Thanks for the opening lyrics of Dannyboy. Beautiful song.

            And I do give you a “break”. You deserve worse, but I am a kindhearted man.

            Oh, Danny boy, the pipes, the pipes are calling.
            From glen to glen, and down the mountain side.
            The summer’s gone, and all the flowers are dying.
            It’s you, it’s you must go and I must bide.

            But come ye back when summer’s in the meadow.
            Or when the valley’s hushed and white with snow.
            I’ll be here in sunshine or in shadow.
            Oh, Danny boy, oh, Danny boy, I love you so.

        • Juan says:

          Dannyboy – I think many people here think the police should go after you who are destroying otherwise intelligent discussions on a well run community web site by very poorly trying to display your limited amount of sarcasm and intelligence. There is no prize awarded for most posts, or wittiest posts.

          Why don’t you instead spend your time reading some of the books you are allegedly purchasing from this vendor and report back to us on what you’ve learned?

          • dannyboy says:

            “I think many people here think the police should go after you”

            false accusations and threats are such “intelligent discussions on a well run community web site”!

            Reflect on your Comments Juan.

    18. Sean says:

      Stop the madness! This book selling must stop.

    19. Anon says:

      Everyone has an opinion let the dboy have his say.
      Some folks can be so intolerant, we’re talking about books!
      ”Torch & Gas – Gone for good soon Enough” whoever YOU are advocating nazilike violence is just wrong.

    20. naro says:

      stinky lousy city. i wonder if that guy ever paid taxes? they could maybe get him on tax evasion, if he pays no taxes.

      • dannyboy says:

        “stinky lousy city.” Whoa!

        “they could maybe get him on tax evasion” naro

        I think you got himconfused with Al Capone.
        No overreation here.

    21. gabby says:

      Get rid of this guy and his books. Keep pressing him. Rosethal has got my vote for sure!

    22. Che says:

      I hope we sustain such an uproar over developers’ zoning rights, a topic whose force gets somewhat diluted. But take a moment at http://www.humanscale.nyc.

      • dannyboy says:

        no, these bullies would never pick on someone their own size. maybe kirk, but no developer.

    23. 1 comment per person says:

      WSR —

      Is there any way to shut up or limit Dannyboy and his comments? His excessive comments and trolling have made it long longer enjoyable — and limits other people’s comments. This is a community board and when 28 out of 74 comments are from him, that changes the tempo of the discussion. (I am sure I’ll get a comment from him now too.)

      • dannyboy says:

        “I am sure I’ll get a comment from him now too.”

        Thank you for the Invitation to comment. As always, I will help, best as I can. My suggestion to you ‘1 comment per person” would be to skip the Comments which you don’t want to read. This works fine for me.

        Alternatively, you could remain loyal to your namesake and only make ‘1 comment per person’.

        I hope this helps.

      • Jay says:

        I don’t think moderators are interested in limiting his trolling and use of pseudonyms. I’ve asked… and he’s still trolling away.

        • West Sider says:

          We are planning to tighten moderation to deal with the back-and-forth that has been distracting from the usual tenor of the comments. We have heard from people about the tone and will refocus our attention on it. WSR

      • lynn says:

        Isn’t this a board for conversation, or are we only allowed one comment/opinion per topic? I don’t understand why you think dannyboy is using more than one screen name. It appears to me that there are 3-4 people who continuously attempt to pick an argument with him, (although I enjoy the repartee between db and Sean). So is he not supposed to respond? I seriously don’t understand the criticism of his multi-posting. I’m assuming that you’re using a new screen name because I’ve never seen “1 comment per person,” pop up before. :/

        • Juan says:

          Back and forth should be encouraged but Dannyboy attempts to dominate the conversation. He is the first to respond to every post, and his tone is snarky and counter-productive (waiting for his response to this post…). I am all for opposing viewpoints but they need to be made in a logical, constructive manner. He does not do this. And I am clearly not the only one who feels this way.

          The owners of this site work very hard to make it a valuable, interesting, fun resource for many people. It is a shame that one person can ruin it for the rest of us.

          Dannyboy – I hope you can prove me wrong but I have a feeling that if you reply at all, it will be another shot.

          I wish the management the best of luck in determining a way to limit his impact on the rest of us. I am a member of other completely unrelated message boards where one must register to comment then can comment anonymously, so that the owners can track those who are not following the rules. It is a shame that this might be necessary here, but it might be the best option.

          • dannyboy says:

            Juan, I appreciate your interest and invitation (“waiting for his response to this post…”). I hope I didn’t keep you waiting too long, being such an important person and all.

            (1) Why did you earlier address me as “OK, Mr. Literal.”? I have never referred to you as Mr Off-the-Topic.

            (2) “I think many people here think the police should go after you” AND YOU”RE SAYING “his tone is snarky and counter-productive”. Reflect Juan!

            (3) “I am a member of other completely unrelated message boards where one must register to comment then can comment anonymously” Have you coopted “Juan”?

            Since you say “Back and forth should be encouraged” I am certain as a man of his good word, you will answer these.

        • Sean says:

          It’s very annoying.