Beneath the bright colors of the Lichtenstein mural inside the Times Square subway station, you could always find a subway musician performing in the open space between the shuttle and the 1/2/3 lines, along with Record Mart, the record store that is also Manhattan’s oldest and a fixture on every New Yorker’s commute. The glass display cases showed the latest products, including equipment you could buy there like headphones, stereo equipment, cameras and more. And the goods usually spilled out in front of the entrance with stands holding postcards and posters for sale. You could still find LPs for sale inside. The store actively bought previously owned LPs, CDs and DVDs and they had regular, devoted fans who would pop in. Record Mart had a particularly acclaimed curation of Latin music.
Today, we found a sign on the window announcing that Record Mart has permanently closed. Untapped New York photographer Ryan Lahiff tells us, “I’d seen them clearing the store out last week but I thought it was because of the fear of looting.” The message reads “Established in 1958 by Jesse Moskowitz and Bob Stack, Record Mart, the oldest Record Store in Manhattan, has had the privilege of serving our fellow New Yorkers as well as people all around our country and the world for over 62 years. We are deeply saddened to say that due to the pandemic, Record Mart will not be able to reopen. On behalf of all of us at Record Mart, we want to thank you for your support through the years. Our phone number will remain active so if you have a special order, please leave a message with your name, phone number, and your special order ticket number and we will contact you. We are moving into the vintage audio business, where we buy, refurbish, and sell audio equipment. Please visit us at recordmarthifi.com to browse our selection, or if you want to contact us to sell your audio gear. Stay safe. Lou Moskowitz. Record Mart.”
A business card, with Record Mart’s official address “7 Times Square. IRT Subway Mezzanine. New York, NY 10036 was added.” The phone number for the new business remains 212-840-0580.
Adding to the original article, we’re including some memories tweeted by those that shared this article about Record Mart. Benjamin Kabak from Second Ave Sagas tweets, “Ugh. A mainstay inside the Times Square subway stop…and the best place to find salsa records and basically any Cuban or Puerto Rican music in NYC.” Brooklywood says, “This place was a real gem, particularly for Latin music. It always blew my mind that there was a record store in a subway station – and that it was there since 1958!”Peter Gunn writes, “there was nothing like ducking in when transferring trains on the way home and unexpectedly finding some wax for cheap, all while they were blasting vintage salsa or king fu flicks… ” Kerry Lynn Slominski says, “This is just sad. A staple to the 42nd street/Times Square Subway Terminal. ” Lilit Marcus, a CNN travel editor, tweets, “This was legit the best thing in Times Square.” Fania Records says, “It was a true institution of NYC Latin Music retail for decades. Its founder and owner Jesse Moskowitz had an encyclopedic knowledge of Latin artists and repertoire.”