Morning Bulletin: Bookseller Claims He’s Targeted by Racists, A Local Library’s Innovative Program

Assembly Member Nicole Mallitoakis was one of the people protesting in advance of a parole hearing for Mark David Chapman, who killed John Lennon in 1980. Chapman’s hearing is this week, and protesters want him to stay behind bars. Photo by Katie Barry.

August 20, 2018 Weather: Cloudy, with a high of 78 degrees.

A free showing of ‘The Prestige’ and more local events are on our calendar.

Kirk Davidson, the controversial book vendor who sets up tables on 73rd and Broadway, believes that racism is part of the reason that people complain about his stands, according to a Post story that also quotes the West Side Rag comment section. The 20th precinct has been confiscating Davidson’s books more often lately. Captain Timothy “Malin denied this was a racial issue and he said he visited Davidson at 1 a.m. on Aug. 4 to see if they could reach a resolution, but had no luck. Davidson told The Post he wasn’t leaving. ‘What have these books ever did to anyone?’ he said.”

Riverside Library at 65th and Amsterdam has a program to lend people ties, briefcases, and handbags for three-week periods, a way to help job-seekers and others who don’t have access to formal clothes. “The new program was created as part of the NYPL’s Innovation Project, which provides grant funding for new proposals by library staff for things like creating library greenhouses or implementing a job search program for the unemployed. While the collection is only located at one library right now, if it’s successful, it may inspire other branches across the NYPL system to do the same.

One local church addressed the issue of sexual abuse by priests, which has come up again after a grand jury report about abuse in Pennsylvania. “At Church of the Ascension on the Upper West Side of Manhattan, one priest confronted the scandal directly during a homily, while another, during a Spanish-language Mass there an hour later, chose to remain silent on the subject. ‘In the past few weeks, it has not been easy to be Catholic in America,” Msgr. Thomas Shelley said at the 8:15 a.m. service. ‘You have every right to be angry and indignant.” Still, he urged parishioners not to abandon the church. “Your anger shows your love for the church,’ he said.”

NEWS | 25 comments | permalink
    1. Juan says:

      There are unfortunately so many cases of racism these days, that to trivialize these claims by crying racism for something like this that has nothing to do with race is really unfortunate.

      I don’t know why this guy has to be so belligerent. I am sure it has been made perfectly clear to him what the law is. Why can’t he operate within the rules? Other booksellers throughout the neighborhood don’t seem to have a problem doing so.

      • Shirley says:

        Belligerent? How so????

        • NotImpressed says:

          Shirley, he has been observed by many (including me) yelling profanities at passersby and tossing items including lit cigarettes at people walking dogs.

        • Juan says:

          Have you read the countless reports on this web site of him harassing people? Or the fact that he is constantly disobeying the laws and using loopholes to continue operating? Sounds belligerent to me.

          I prefer to patronize businesses that follow the rules and are pleasant to all of their customers.

    2. Godhelpusall says:

      Spirituality and a relationship with God is one thing, but to continue to affiliate yourself with the most powerful religious organization on the planet that repeatedly condones, covers up, and mishandles abhorrent actions is beyond my comprehension. What human beings will tolerate in the name of religion is as sinful as those actions that have taken place at the hands of these “men of God”

    3. Ye Olde Englishe Teachere says:

      Re: “Davidson told The Post he wasn’t leaving. ‘What have these books ever DID to anyone?’ he said.”

      Thank you, Mr. Davidson, for making myself and all my colleagues (both in-service and out-to-pasture) WINCE.

      • dannyboy says:

        Do you and your colleagues take any responsibility for the increase in incorrect usage?

        Or do you just criticize your prior students?

    4. NotImpressed says:

      I like the Imagine photo.

      Imagine if Kirk Davidson behaved like other vendors (black, white, and everything else) who are polite, clean, and responsible…

    5. Cyn(thia) Icke says:

      Re: “Assembly Member Nicole Malliotakis was … protesting in advance of a parole hearing for Mark David Chapman, (wanting) him to stay behind bars.”

      1. Chapman shot Lennon 37 years ago, and has already served almost double the minimum time of his “20 years to life” sentence;

      2. Mention John Lennon to the average 20-something and (s)he will look at you as the neanderthal (s)he always suspected you were;

      3. Some of us may recall that Mallitoakis LOST, by 2 to 1, in her bid to unseat Mayor BdB in the last Mayoral election.

      Guess a fading political hack (who, ironically, was born the same year Lennon was shot) is “grasping at straws” (hopefully paper straws, NOT the environmentally-unfriendly plastic kind) to get her face on the tv screens again.

      • Pedestrian says:

        I don’t care if no one remembers Mr. Lennon. The sentence was 20-life. Chapman killed a human being. It makes no difference if that human being was famous or not. Life should be the sentence served.

      • Rob G. says:

        Ick, Cyn(thia)! Who else would you like to see released? The remaining Manson Family murderers? Joel Rifkin? Bernie Madoff? David Berkowitz? Wayne Williams? Sirhan Sirhan?

        Hell, why don’t we parole everyone in prison so they’re not in danger of becoming a political tool for other candidates you don’t like.

      • EricaC says:

        I’m curious why you think that the right thing to do here depends on whether people remember Lennon. If the general recollection of the victim of a murder is a factor on whether the murderer should be released, then if most of us were murdered, our murderers could be released almost instantly.

      • Dissident says:

        Re: #2 in Comment No. 5 by Cyn(thia) Icke (August 20, 2018 at 4:38 pm):

        Concerning individuals of the generation you specified, did you mean to claim that they are simply unfamiliar with Lennon? Or that they are familiar with the cultural icon but find him passe`? Regardless, I fail to see the relevance. Do the questions of justice that are before us here only apply when the victim posthumously enjoys some minimal level of name-recognition or popularity?

        In the same vein, I have to question whether the individuals protesting Chapman’s parole hearing would be doing so had his victim not enjoyed the near-canonized status that Lennon does. How bothered would Mallitoakis & Co. be about the prospective of parole for a murderer if his victim had been but a random ordinary zhlob?

    6. Petier says:

      If that clown loves books so much tell him to go work in the library

    7. Joan A. Rogers says:

      Does Kirk Davidson have a Certificate of Authority Sales Tax Id from NY State and is he paying sales tax to NYC and NYS on the sale of these books? Clearly he’s committing tax fraud. Ask to see his sales receipts and income tax returns for the past five years. Why should other vendors have to pay taxes and fees but Kirk pays nothing while commandeering an entire city block AND harassing and menacing women.

      He is living on government benefits that have a cap on income. Since he does such a lucrative business on that street, he has exceeded his limit and may be committing welfare fraud.

      Please do a criminal background check on this man. If nothing else it will clear up the rumor that he has a extensive criminal history and is a convicted sex offender.

      Davidson would have you believe he is a victim of his own race. This is a smokescreen so no one will look into his refusal to pay sales and income tax.

      Please look further, there is much more to this story.

    8. Harriet F. says:

      The case of Kirk Davidson on 73rd St is absolutely not a racial issue. I buy fruit regularly from people I assume to be Muslim. I buy handbags and gloves from time-to-time from people who are African-American. I don’t care what color or religion someone is, if they have manners, are civil to those around them (which he is not), and abide by the rules (i.e. pack up all your items every night and remove them). I’m not interested in the message offered by the Bible Study people at 72nd St, but I totally support their right to be there. The saddest part of this is that someone who wants special treatment and does not want to live within the law pulls the “race card” to get around the law. That may remove any sympathy some of the general public may have had for him.

      • dannyboy says:

        Is that you Harriet (made infamous by the NY Post reporting: “Harriet wrote on the blog [West Side Rag]…’In fact he is more like a bookseller’s pimp, as he runs the street with an iron hand.'”


        Right here in the WSR Comments.

    9. Shirley Z- 77th St says:

      Kirk Davidson, the book vendor, is a quiet dignified person who has years selling books from this location! A local UWS fixture with proper license to sell his books! Has MY neighborhood become so gentrified & elitist that used book/record sellers,etc are to be considered undesirables? an image problem for the high end realtors? stripping the UWS charm from OUR NEIGHBORHOOD!!!

      • NotImpressed says:

        Shirley Z – are you suggesting that those who have had different experiences with him are lying?

      • geoff says:

        i completely agree.

        then there’s the cigar smoking, disbarred lawyer who sells books down by 67 Wine. never see a word written about him.

    10. Janet W. says:

      Kirk Davidson can play the race card, if he likes, in one of the most liberal to progressive neighborhoods in NYC. That’s not to say there aren’t racists on the UWS. And the NYPD NEVER exhibits racism, does it?

      My beef with bookseller Kirk Davidson is the arrogance and contempt he showed toward me for no explicable reason, which deliberately denied me the opportunity to buy one of his books. And I’d been a long-time browser/buyer at his tables. Probability says he did it to others. Let him take his books and his fecal attitude somewhere else where he’ll happily thrive. I don’t need to be insulted on the street where I live because he has “problems.” Good luck to him … somewhere else.

    11. Upper West Sider says:

      The street vendor who sells books on Columbus and 68th keeps getting shut down and he is white. I hope that neighbors will frequent Book Culture on 81st and Columbus, Barnes & Noble on 82nd and Broadway, and the soon to open Shakespeare & Co. on Broadway and 69th. We need to support local booksellers forced to pay exorbitant rents, not street vendors who pay nothing and clog up our streets.

      • Kat French says:

        Don’t forget West Sider Rare and Used Books (Broadway at 80th). They have a great selection and a generous purchase policy, plus it’s good for the environment to keep old things in circulation instead of buying new.

    12. Dissident says:, and Wikipedia all give Lennon’s date of death as December 8, 1980 (confirming what I had thought); the caption under the photo on this page appears to be in error.