We recently brought you a list of 5 record stores in NYC where you can still get vinyl. Though these businesses are alive and flourishing, many other record stores have met a different fate. Vinyl vendors of all sizes struggle to survive; even Virgin Records, the Megastore backed by Sir Richard Branson’s massive business conglomerate, could not hold out in Times Square. Here are five of those lost records stores that will be sorely missed.
5. Bleecker Bob’s
Bleeker Bob’s Golden Oldies, open in 1968 as Village Oldies Records, closed in April of 2013 and was replaced by a frozen yogurt shop. The landlord was reportedly asking for profits of $15,000 a month, which the store could not swing. In its heyday, the store had a great selection of punk records and merchandise that attracted customers like Robert Plant and David Bowie. Another draw for vinyl lovers was Bleecker Bob (also known as Robert Plotnik), who suffered a brain aneurysm in 2001 that left him paralyzed. His friends and loved ones were left in charge of of the record store up until its closing last year.
Wanna know more? Check out this 30-minute documentary on the last days of Bleeker Bob’s.
4. Bleecker St. Records
Another vinyl haven on Bleecker street, the store was also forced to leave because of a rent increase. Opened in 1993, this place was all about discovery through browsing. Their records were loosely sorted by genre, but not alphabetized. The store had a couple of cats, Skuzzball and Creeper, who lounged around the displays until closing day. After closing, the West Village outpost was reportedly moving to a new location on 4th Street, but those plans have yet to pan out.
3. Dope Jams
Also a popular venue for parties, Dope Jams’ musical specialization was house and electronic. In their touching closing statement, owners Francis Englehardt and Paul Nickerson expressed the desire behind the store—to create a space that would benefit the creation of good music—before inviting everyone over for a final hurrah at their former Myrtle Ave. outpost. Though they closed after 7 years of business in January of last year, the record dealers continued doing business through mail-order. Now, they plan to open a new store in Oak Hill in upstate New York.
4. Hospital Productions
This record store was especially good if you were looking for some black metal, noise, and what is generally termed “experimental” music. Also good if you like small spaces, as it was located in the windowless basement of a place called Jammyland. The East Village spot closed in December of 2011, though the Hospital Productions record label still functions today. The record store was run by Dominick Fernow (a.k.a. Prurient, a.k.a. Vatican Shadow, a.k.a. Ash Pool), who provided obscure records that were often acquired through trading with other enthusiasts. He has since moved to L.A. and operates the label from there.
1. Rocks In Your Head
According to The Villager, owner Ira Barouch originally concentrated on punk, new wave, and no wave music because they were the “zeitgeist of the rock scene at the time.” They built on that scene for over twenty years before profits stopped coming in. Already suffering from staggering rents, the record store moved from its SoHo location to Brooklyn in April 2006. It closed for good shortly after, ending a record store that had been around since 1978. Is now just another real estate agency in SoHo.
Next, discover 12 of the best (existing) record stores in NYC.