Come on NYC. You are killing me here as this news marks the second iconic music related thing in NYC to shutter its doors this week alone. On Monday Lady Gaga performed the last concert ever at Roseland Ballroom (a venue which I lamented about HERE). Then comes the news that J&R Music World would be closing the retail stores that have been a staple attraction on the Park Row street for 43 years.
Speaking personally I figure that I have been going to these stores since the mid-eighties as I worked down on Wall Street after school running paperwork from company to company. This was always an accidental detour when I was nearby and actually so was the much longer shuttered Bondy’s. I found a whole lot of my earliest inspiring Metal and Hard Rock here and this was from a time when you had to climb an almost four story staircase to reach the goodies. They would eventually move the music stuff downstairs and reconfigure that upstairs for another medium/genre. The would open up a large computer store but I seldom used that and then there was an aim to compete with chains like Sam Ash and Guitar Center when they opened up their music instruments section. The music instruments section was nice enough and I saw Zebra’s Randy Jackson perform there once but I don’t think it ever took off the way they had planned.
The main music selling space often had meet and greets with bands and whenever possible I tried to be on point to bring our readers into the mix. As a result I was able to catch brief performances by groups such as Shadows Fall, ZO2, Lez Zeppelin and Carmine Appice. There were also signing only events such as Halford, Anthrax, Twisted Sister and more and all of the events that I scribbled some details about can be enjoyed HERE. Please do check those out because I think you will like them.
Now while I realize I am lamenting the music areas the most, I have to add that they had a large household and electronics area and sold just about everything you needed or wanted to have in the house. My Dad loved the place that’s for sure and I still have the vacuum I picked up. The owners of the store (Joe and Rachelle Friedman) posted a public “Thank You” to their customers which outlines the plans to redevelop the space into something much larger than J&R ever was. Will this new Social and Commercial Mecca (their words not mine) feature something similar to what we are now lamenting find a place here? Well, only time will tell but I think not since the selling of music seems to have become a thing of the past outside of a handful of specialty items. Though I realize I sound like “the old guy” here in this statement, I feel the magic of rifling through the bins looking for something that will entice you have gone by. Our digital youth move fast and furious and sometimes with impatience and onto the next thing that they hear is good on their Facebook Feed or Twitter Followings. J&R had great staff and these guys knew music. There were many times when I was told that if I liked Band A that I might also enjoy the newer Band M and so on. The days of the record stores grow fewer and fewer with this loss. No more HMV, no more Tower Records and no more Virgin Megastore. Now no more J&R Music World. Goodbye and thanks for letting me spend a decent amount of my paycheck during my formative music years.
J&R Music Owners Official Statement HERE