The Strand Bookstore is one of our favorite places in NYC, but that doesn't mean they're perfect: DNAInfo reports that The Strand regularly uses its sprinkler system to deter homeless people from sleeping beneath its red awning.
Up until last week, there were signs posted reading, “Warning: Sprinkler System Will Run Periodically From 10:30 PM-9:00 AM” on the walls of the shop at the corner of East 12th Street and Broadway. “It was to keep people from sleeping out there,” one Strand bookseller told DNAinfo. “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 manager Eddie Sutton denied the sprinklers were used to drive away the homeless, saying they were there to clean the sidewalk, but homeless neighborhood regulars say otherwise: “It was bad because you get soaking wet," said Michael Pilgrim, 44, who sleeps across the street from The Strand. "If you’re lying there and you don’t know about it, everything is going to get soaking wet — all your personal belongings. You’re going to freeze, basically."
NYC is currently dealing with a homeless epidemic not seen since the Great Depression; approximately 50,000 people spend the night in NYC homeless shelters.
A publicist for the Strand has not responded to a request for comment.