Salman Rushdie's latest Twitter crusade hits close to his old Greenwich Village stomping grounds as the venerated author campaigns to save New York's St. Mark's Bookshop. Rushdie wrote the shop's landlord, the Cooper Union college, pleading with it to lower the rent so the shop could stay, DNAinfo reported on Tuesday. He's also put out the word to his Twitter followers to write in support of the place. The shop's supporters have been campaigning since September to get its rent lowered by $5,000, but Rushdie's voice carries particular resonance because he's not only a high-profile author, he's a neighborhood veteran who's a regular speaker at the school. "Like many admirers of the Cooper Union, I’ve been disturbed by the thought that you may force the St. Mark’s Bookshop to close by imposing rents on them which they cannot pay," Rushdie wrote, according to DNAinfo. "The St. Mark’s Bookshop is as much a New York institution as the Cooper Union is. I urge you not to make this irreversible cultural mistake." In an interview last year, Rushdie told Wall Street Journal writer Vibhuti Patel about how he lived on St. Mark's Place, near the school, when he first moved to New York in 1973. Since then he's spoken at multiple events at Cooper Union, including a PEN American Center-sponsored talk last year, and hosting the the Moth there earlier this year.
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