After several years of lying empty, the former space of a classic record shop has been filled--and it's not with another record shop.
Footlight Records on E. 12th Street was one of my favorites. I went for CDs by obscure ukulele players, for crooners and torch singers, and for soundtracks. Mostly, I liked the place for its atmosphere.
New York magazine described it well: "On a typical Sunday at Footlight Records, you’ll see hipsters snatching up Italian lounge CDs, hip-hop artists trolling for new beats among the vinyl movie soundtracks, seniors browsing through the Broadway cast recordings, a Liza impersonator scoring Cabaret on DVD."
New York Magazine, 1987
Opened in 1978, after three decades in business, Footlight closed its doors in 2005. At the time, owner Ron Saja told Backstage, "right now, the industry sucks... there aren't a lot of collectors like years ago. You know, it used to be you went to your college dance and someone was spinning 45s. Now there's a computer with 10,000 songs on it—what's to get excited about? And anyway, most new collectors want the same thing: 20 different languages of 'The Phantom of the Opera,' 'Les Miz,' and 'Rent.'"
Footlight then became an online-only business. You can still order through their website, which also went through a crisis, was nearly lost, and then saved.
But the point of this post is that since 2005, the former Footlight space on E. 12th has been gutted, renovated, and sitting empty. Now they've got a new tenant. And it's the same old story: A decades-old, essential New York place vanishes, taking its unique personality with it, and the space gets filled by...a real estate agency.
A great bookshop becomes a body waxing salon.