Employees of the iconic Strand Book Store were asked to douse the homeless with water to drive them away, according to a report in DNAinfo New York.
The store reportedly installed signs reading, "Warning: Sprinkler System Will Run Periodically From 10:30 PM-9:00 AM" but removed them Friday after an inquiry from a DNAinfo reporter.
"It was to keep people from sleeping out there," a Strand employee 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."
Homeless people told the site that they were doused with cold water after trying to sleep on the sidewalk in front of the Greenwich Village shop. Some feared the tactic could freeze them or completely ruin their personal belongings.
The store's manager told the site that the sprinklers were used to clean the sidewalk.
Follow Anna Sanders on Twitter: @AnnaESanders