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Monday, August 3, 2015

New York City's Music Row About To Close For Good

Rudy's Music Stop image
There was a time when the mecca of music stores was 48th street in New York City. A single city block just off Broadway was ground zero for the best music stores, and the best deals, on the planet.

The legendary Manny's Music, the first Sam Ash store, Rudy's Music Stop, Alex Music, Greco's Custom Guitars, Terminal Music, Silver and Horland, New York Woodwind and Brass Shop, and a few others I can't remember made it as vibrant a place as you'd see in the music business. It's where you'd just as likely see a superstar playing the Garden that night as a kid in a local band buying the same gear.

Sadly, Music Row will be soon be no more.

Unfortunately the last two tenants of Music Row will soon be gone, as Rudy's Music closed last week and Alex Music will close at the end of the year. Sam Ash (which purchased most of the other stores over time) moved to 34th street in 2012.

Inside Manny's Music
Anyone who visited Music Row during it's heyday understands how cool it was. There was competition between the stores that you don't have today. Get a price from Manny's and go across the street to Ash to see if they could beat it, and vice versa.

There was the latest in gear, which was a big deal before the Internet made manufacturer communication about new product instantaneous. You'd see it available on Music Row before it even hit the magazines. Talk about exciting.

You had great service. I remember Henry Goldrich, owner of Manny's, treating me like I was Pete Townshend when I had a problem with a Conn Strobotuner.

It's where the home studio craze got it start, selling everything from Tascam 4 tracks to Fostex 8 tracks and ADATS. Both Manny's and Ash were the first to recognize the trend and have recording departments before anyone else.

Like everything else, the music retail business has evolved and moved on, for better or worse. Music Row, we're sorry to see you go!

I'd love to hear your 48th Street stories and experiences.

3 comments:

Fran Doyle said...

The more things change the more I realize I like how it used to be more and more. Makes me sound old but it’s true. I’ll never forget the 1st time I walked into Manny’s. It was probably 20 years ago now… I swear angelic music from the heavens played as I entered those front doors and the hair on the back of my neck stood at attention… this wasn’t Terrace Music, I wasn’t in Minersville anymore!!!!!! Sadly more and more of the places that made New York the epicenter for music are going the way of the caribou, from places like Manny’s and Rudy’s to CBGB’s and The Trash Bar….relaced by Starbucks, Apple stores and condos… so sad… Think I will go listen to some Patti on Vinyl now…

Anonymous said...

Music Row was a Mecca for me back in the 70s and 80s. I never made a visit to NYC without spending time there gazing in the windows and wandering around drooling over the amazing new equipment. I bought my first multitrack (a Tascam Portastudio) at Manny's, as well as some other gear that I still have. There was nothing like it. As you said, pre-internet it was the place to learn what was new and exciting.

Unknown said...

My first guitar was purchased there, I was there countless times and my first studio was equipped by going there and picking out all the gear and cables in person. The technology of the internet is amazing, but good old fashion, in person, customer service is a casualty of all that.

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