Monday, January 30, 2012

There is now only one record store left on St. Mark's Place


Jeremiah has the lousy news this morning that Rockit Scientist Records has lost its lease and is closing Feb. 29 on St. Mark's Place... (You can read the details here. Encouraging sign: The owner hopes to relocate.)

Reading this, it occurred to me that there is now just one CD/music shop left on St. Mark's Place — Sounds, which is above the Grassroots at No. 20.


I can't remember every store that has closed on St. Mark's Place in recent years ... Joe's CDs, 13 CDs, Venus Records, Mondo Kim's, Smash ... uh... (A little help, Alex?!)

Didn't seem like too long ago where you could have spent an afternoon on St. Mark's Place rooting through the bins of the record stores here ... then reading the liner notes/CD sleeves of your purchases at the Grassroots or wherever over a beer ... Ah, how old-fashioned.

Anyway, Norman's is still there just around the corner on Cooper Square...


As much as I hate to see record stores close, we are fortunate to have several good choices left in the neighborhood, such as...Kim's ... Good Records NYC ... Turntable Lab ... A-1 Records ... Other Music ... Academy Records ... Gimme Gimme ... Big City Records ... Rainbow Music...

17 comments:

Roger_Paw said...

Wow, your description of looking through bins of records at St. Mark's for hours brings me back to my early years in the LES. I first moved to the city in 1991 at the tender age of 18 (not as a college student but for work). Sifting through records was the best. There's nothing like the tactile nature of flipping the record sleeves with your thumb and index finger as you search for a goodie. Thanks for the memories..

Mykola ( Mick) Dementiuk said...

In the same way that I used to look for records there also were many bookstores up and down St Marks Place. Or go up 8th Street into the Village where bookstores continued up and down the street. Was an artistic crowd in those days, 1960s, 70s and the 80s, not anymore.

Bowery Boogie said...

albums will soon only be used for decorating some "artisanal" bar/restaurant. though, we hope that day never comes.

mattucee said...

When I moved to EV 33 years ago St. Marks was mostly book shops! Change happens but it certainly ain't always good. The changes on
St. Mark's Place over the last 20 years, and to NYC generally have been mostly sad. Most developers are essentially barbarians.

Marty Wombacher said...

I once was telling two young kids in a bar that the internet was killing record stores and that the majority of kids don't have the unique experience of hanging out in a record store, looking at covers, having conversations and everything that went along with hanging out in record stores. One of them told me that the biggest record store in the world is on the internet and told me it was iTunes. At that point, I gave up and just drank my beer.

I hope Rockit Scientist can relocate.

glamma said...

oh f*ck me! i am there every weekend! those guys are old school. this sucks

Anonymous said...

I'm with you Roger. Same pattern of events, and you have maybe a year or two on me. That said, I remember those glorious days where I spent hours, literally digging through crates, walls, boxes, etc at some of these shops. For me; the real deal was Dancetrax, Temple (the original), Satellite (the original north of Houston on Bowery, which is now a subway, not the one below later on). The uber cool Sound Library, which I conveniently lived next too for most of the late 90's and early 00's. There are others, I'm just a blank for them at the moment. Although not relevant to the EV or even St. Marks, I could spend an entire day on Carmine St. Starting with Sonic Groove. ahhh..deep sad breath..I really really miss those days. It doesn't get talked about enough, and hard for me to say since I wasn't here in the 80's, but I'd argue people like you and me, as well as others, experienced New York in its best possible time. 70's and 80's weren't great due to violence and horrible financial conditions. I'd argue from about 1989-1999 were probably the best years that New York downtown had ever experienced and most of the people were kind of cool too..

John M said...

I'm with anonymous 2:41, 89-99 were pretty great. Generally safe yet the yahoos stayed uptown because of the perception of danger. Good days.

What are these guys called...Rockit Scientist? I haven't been in there in years, this same storefront has been at least 3 (I think) different used/new record/cd shops in the past 20 years or so. I used to go there a lot a couple of incarnations back and spend hours flipping through. Stopped in a couple times since then and the place had generally gone way downhill somehow, so I ceased and desisted.

Record stores are dinosaurs and I love them, but I guess there's not enough business to go around and keep more than a handful in the black. Sign of the times....hey, Jobs, thanks a lot! iTune this.

Eden Bee said...

Gimme gimme is a great used record store. All kinda of genres and new stock every week. I work there and I know-I gotta clean it and put it all out!

Anonymous said...

I feel bad for today's youth when it comes to music. They will never know the joy of acquisition. Everything is so facile, everyone can get a copy of anything in a few seconds, with a few keystrokes. Every music is part of the big database now, so everyone's got the same access to your favorite music that you do. How does one identify themselves with music? Seems like everything's pre-formatted and pre-categorized. As a result, the intrinsic value of music has diminished in the last few years. Talk to any typical kid they will tell you "I have everything on my ipod". Blase. It's all part of the hive mind evolution and the death of originality. Fuck!

James Campbell Taylor said...

@Anonymous 11:26 AM

I wholeheartedly agree. I wrote about this phenomenon a little while back: http://www.jamescampbelltaylor.com/2009/10/spin-city/

JamesKInIA said...

@Anonymous 11:26 AM

Perhaps it is better not to define yourself by your consumption choices.

Anonymous said...

As noted at the end, there are a lot of great record stores in the immediate neighborhood. I often spend an afternoon hitting Gimme Gimme, Good Records, Kim's, Academy, Norman's, and Other Music. Great selections of new and used vinyl.

- East Villager

Anonymous said...

By the way, vinyl sales have been dramatically rising:
http://digitalmusicnews.com/permalink/2012/120104vinyl

- East Villager

Anonymous said...

Anon 2:41 here:

John M. Agreed. This was still a time when you stayed uptown if you lived up town. We've essentially become the pis*ing and puking grounds for these folk now. Others that I didn't give a shout out to last time included Eightball and Throb(14th)

As for Anon on 1/31/12 at 11:26AM -

100% agreed and this is the precise point. I can remember it like yesterday. A couple of the guys and even a few gals would shop the entire day. The digging was the sport. It was the interaction with the vinyl. The spectacle and joy when you pulled a sleeve out of a crate jammed to the back of the wall. Look at the tag only to realize you just grabbed a synewave (NYC) record and almost pis*ed yourself.

The real joy was when the gang finished up and all headed back to my place or one of my buddies and auditioned/listened to our new purchases. I'll never forget those moments when my buddy would throw a record on and I would be speechless and at times upset :) that I didn't find that record. You know "the most awesome record ever found." That's the point you could find one of these techno/house/breaks records, something that there may have only been a dozen or so printed. Today you hear something and you have it in 5 seconds. It's funny, to this day, I still have a list of a few that I try to land on Discogs.

Anonymous said...

My favorite record store was Free Being located on second avenue a few doors south of St. Marks

Anonymous said...

I agree, it was Free Being were we all began.