Thursday, January 26, 2012

Bleecker Bob's

VANISHING

Sweet suffering Christ, when will it end? Ken Mac over at Greenwich Village Daily Photo just reported the staggering news that Bleecker Bob's record store is becoming a Starbucks.


1983, NYU, via Flaming Pablum

He writes on his blog, "I walked into Bob's the other morning and asked him straight up, 'Is a Starbucks moving in here?' He replied 'Maybe,' not 'absolutely not!' The manager of Cafe Reggio confirms the Starbucks takeover of Bob's space, adding 'Starbucks will take 30% of our business. All the NYU kids want their mocha frappuccino.'"

Killing two birds with one stone, Starbucks?

39 comments:

esquared said...

another sign of the apocalypse

also, Southpaw in Park Slope is closing, to become a tutoring school, "now that the hood caters more to kiddies than roadies"

http://www.brooklynpaper.com/stories/35/4/dtg_southpaw_2012_02_04_bk.html

Jonesy said...

The death of a record store anywhere is a tragedy, but Starbucks replacing it is just salt in the wound.

Sometimes I want to just become an expat, but then I feel like wherever I go, it'll just be the same, or the sameness will follow me there.

JAZ said...

This cannot be true - I just double checked the calendar, and it is definitely not 4/1.

Claribel said...

That is thoroughly crushing. To the lovers of progress with your detached NYC is all about change philosophy--I beg you, please stand the f*ck back and give me a little time and space to mourn this one. I'm absolutely panicked now for Cafe Reggio, but will do my best to pour as much money into patronizing the place and stay optimistic, even though I'm freaking out a little right now.

Ken Mac said...

A carpenter who works in many of the buildings on MacDougal confirmed it, as did the manager of Cafe Reggio (who is also the super of the building). And Bob's "maybe" was certainly not a denial. I hope I am wrong.

clr said...

What in the fucking fuck?

I hate this store with every fiber of my being, but it was THERE. It was still THERE. I hated that Bob would never show me anything off the all without taking the money out of my pocket first, I hated how he put down anything you ever bought, WHILE YOU WERE BUYING IT, I watched the entire 8th STreet Playhouse boo him en masse during a screening of Decline & Fall of Western Civilization (I think he's in that, I could be remembering the movie wrong), I even wrote him into my novel (the whole "show me your money or I won't take that rare record off the wall" bullshit).

I feel like a dinosaur.

Anonymous said...

How many spots does Starbuck's require? There's one about four fkn blocks away, near the Stern Biz School, and there must at least two others equally close!!

How did Bob's lose this deal, did the landlord yank this from under him? And what of the shop, any plans to reopen elsewhere? I don't know anymore. I don't know . . .

Jeremiah Moss said...

we don't anything at this point, other than what Ken is having confirmed from people all over the neighborhood.

it feels like a joke, but then again, it feels too real.

columbinellc said...

Uggggg. I am certainly not a fan of Bob's, he's a creep, but he's a VILLAGE INSTITUTION. I wonder if this might be related to the demise of J&B coffee across the street. They've been there for over 10 years and serve a damn good cup of coffee for a lot less than the muck that Starbucks serves up. I'm officially and thoroughly bummed out over this news. An old friend and I were just wondering yesterday how much longer Bob would be on the block.....

Ken Mac said...

J&B's makes a great cup of coffee, the best in the hood. But their business is way down the landlord wanted around 10k. They close in less then a week.

Marty Wombacher said...

This is fucking horrible news. I don't even know what to say.

BrooksNYC said...

I, too, have thought of moving, but share Jonesy's suspicion that the all this sleek, lobotomized dullness would eventually find me.

I've lived too long.

Jonesy said...

At least you New Yorkers have some semblance of walkability and small, privately owned shops.

Try the midwest or the south sometime - the sprawling sameness is like a disease.

Goggla said...

Each days brings worse news.

I have yet to meet anyone who admits to loving Starbucks, Dunkin, Subway, etc. If you're out there, please stand up and explain yourself.

And, since we're feeling miserable, here's some more news:

http://www.onemorefoldedsunset.com/2012/01/so-i-guess-this-is-really-it.html

thefirecat said...

Bleecker Bob's *and* Caffe Reggio (home of awesome hot lemonade in addition to REAL cappuccino!). I think my NYU-alumna-self just died a little inside.

Or maybe a lot.

Blayze said...

Ugh, I've only been in Bleecker Bob's a few times to peruse the wares but never purchased. Nonetheless, it's been a pleasant fixture on my walk to Cafe Reggio (which i usually go out of my way for, just to avoid Starbucks). Not sure why a Starbucks wants to be smack dab there as the big NYU-backed Starsucks is a skip and a hop across the street from Bobst, roughly a 3 minute walk from Bleecker Bob's. I've only used the NYU Starsux for the bathroom and free wifi... and usually I'm a nuisance to everyone in there but it's a huge one, and really there's no need to have yet another one less than a couple blocks away in the mostly chain-free area of the Central-South area of the Village. I'm still going to support Reggio even though the place is consistently packed so I doubt it will ever close or face financial hardship due to Starsux.

April said...

Another Starbucks? Do we really need another coffee shop? Are we not already over caffeinated--what with a Starbucks on every corner, A few Think coffees, and don't forget the coffee carts that you can't miss (for they are at least 5 per block. The Village (E&W) and LES has become so hipster laden that it is just appalling. Don't get me started on the self absorbed, entitled brats of NYU. UGH

James Campbell Taylor said...

I didn't like this store either ($45 for "Some Girls"?).

But there's something almost unreal about the blatant obviousness of this retail switch: the independent record store vs. the corporate coffee chain. If they made this blog into a movie this would be the plot, with all the themes JM talks about dumbed down to a simple story of good guys and bad guys.

Little Earthquake said...

Starbucks? Again??

Here is what I don't get: Starbucks has been CLOSING locations due to its super-saturation of the market. The 8th St. location near Univ. Place closed a couple of years ago. (That was a fine place for a coffee chain if you ask me.)

So why after having already maxed out do they need to open another spot?

The only answer can be that once a Starbucks has ravaged one acre of NY, it closes and moves to another.

Jonesy said...

"I have yet to meet anyone who admits to loving Starbucks, Dunkin, Subway, etc. If you're out there, please stand up and explain yourself."

Okay I admit to loving Dunkin because I grew up with it. And I patronize the local Subway about once a week.
There is a bit of comfort in knowing exactly what you're going to get out of a place before you go there. I'm just sad that our country has elevated that comfort above all else - or at least given the corporations enough money and power to impose it everywhere.
It might be a cost thing, too. America values cheapness over everything. Why else would Walmart have a $400 billion revenue?
It's not as cheap as it looks, though. That cheapness has a real cost that a lots of us don't want to understand.

Jeremiah Moss said...

so what can we DO about it? there's got to be something. we saved St. Marks Books, for chrissakes.

Goggla said...

@Jonesy - thanks for the response.

I understand the familiarity and convenience, but those things can be found in an independent coffee shop or cart. The proliferation of these chains, to me, reflects a society that doesn't want to be bothered with independent thought. When there is a StarSubDunkWay on every corner, there's no need to ever make any decisions or try anything new.

I'm not sure there is anything we can do except continue to support the local businesses you like as much as possible and continue making noise. Saving St Marks Books was no small feat and when people work together, good things can happen.

Jeremiah Moss said...

the chains issue is tough because they're hard to avoid 100%. i'm not a purist about it--though i stay the hell away from Starbucks because i hate them completely.

there was a time when chains were not such a plague. a few here and there were okay, it seemed. but in the past decade, they've multiplied exponentially. and the more there are, the harder they are to avoid, because they wipe out other options.

eventually, we won't have choices at all.

Grand St. said...

That sucks about J & B, Ken.
I'm acquainted with the guy who runs the little newsstand/tobacco shop next door and he recently told me that the (same) landlord wants a vast rent increase from him, too, and that he'll likely shutter in June.

Ken Mac said...

UPDATE: Spoke with Al who runs Campus News across from BBs. He spoke with Bob's girlfriend, who says they are four months behind in rent and definitely leaving. But she doesn't confirm the Starbucks takeover. It does seem like a very grubby block for a Starbucks.

Randall said...

@ goggla and jonesy

I think that people are being conditioned to just accept what is marketed to them. I mean America runs on
Dunkin, five dollar foot longs, etc. And the need to actually think becomes irrelevant. I want sandwich so I go subway. I want coffee so I go Starbucks. What's this cafe Reggio place. I've never heard of it on th tee vee so how good can it be. I think I'll just go to dunks because America runs on dunkin. I know them thay're safe, not like that strange cafe Reggio. Who knows what they'll serve you there if you ask for a capuchino? Make no mistake about it. There is a shit ton of money spent on marketing so that people don't think for themselves, because then they'll realize that they don't actually need all the shit we think we do. Ha. My word verification is poopr!

Anonymous said...

My kid and her friends would walk a mile to avoid a chain. We are not wealthy or snobs but were able to teach her the dif between factory food and something made by hand. I am hoping these kids are the next wave

Ed said...

"Sometimes I want to just become an expat, but then I feel like wherever I go, it'll just be the same, or the sameness will follow me there."

Its a tough call. The sameness is spreading nationwide, but not as aggressively in other places than New York. You feel you have more room to breath. Plus the cost of living is lower, but the act of moving itself can be quite costly, and that plus a car cancels out the lower housing costs.

When I get the opportunity to leave, I'll take it, but I don't think the advantage is great enough to actively seek to move.

Shawn Chittle said...

I've never had a cup of coffee in my life, but I see the effects of caffeine addiction has on people.

Firstly, I know several people who drink 8 or more coffees a day. Do you know how much caffeine that is?

Secondly, we humans love our little routines and "familiarity."

The two add up to an apparent demand for Starbucks.

Little Earthquake said...

You make a good point, Randall.

It's kind of like the interstate system - you can drive across this whole country and not see any of it - except Taco Bell, Subway, and Mobil Gas.

(Which is why when I road trip I try to take a few county highways.)

I'll cop to only having been in BB's once. I'm not a vinyl collector so I don't have much need for a record store. But I did pick up "Brothers & Sisters" by the Allman Bros. Band because they were performing on a network TV show where I worked. My brother is a huge fan and I wanted to get the cover autographed by the band. Mission accomplished in a pinch thanks to Bleecker Bob's. (And the Allman Bros.)

Anonymous said...

there are already 2 starbucks in this neighborhood-christopher street and waverly place.......

Crazy Eddie said...

Starbucks analogy:

'I saw... its thoughts. I saw what they're planning to do. They're like locusts. They're moving from planet to planet... their whole civilization. After they've consumed every natural resource they move on... and we're next. Nuke 'em. Let's nuke the bastards.'

Well, one can dream.

Ken Mac said...

BBs is looking for space in the East Village. Someone from the store just posted that info at my blog. Ken

Jeremiah Moss said...

thanks Ken. interesting news. i just posted it--what irony if they moved into the Holiday Cocktail Lounge space.

Anonymous said...

Frankly, I don't think Starbucks and such run on actual human transactions or real-time sales. So it doesn't matter if anyone buys their crap. What makes money for them is that it looks like they're expanding, so people invest in their stock. Then they close and open somewhere else, to keep that illusion going. Sort of like parasites, or slash and burn...

Anonymous said...

Hey-
I already crossed that spot off when the Night Owl, the music club closed and Bob moved in.

I remember the Stones lining up to get in the front door when it was the village's hottest club and it just served ice cream.

Anonymous said...

This is yet another prime example of the desired current and growing American shopping experience which disdains personality and character driven business in favor of fake customer service and the sense of false comfort.
Nobody wants to "just get something" they all need a friggin' spa experience and it doesn't matter what they buy; coffee, ceramic doves with no faces, plush cartoon monkeys, granny dresses (aka. schmattas), horn rimmed glasses....ach!

laura said...

anon 8:42, i was just thinking the same thing. i wanted to stop @ a small supermarket. i am not in new york but in a crappy town in central america. the supermarket has a blasting radio w/speakers. i paid a bagger to lower it. the discount crap store near by has blasting spanlish rap music AND incense burning w/scented candles. this is just to sell kitchen stuff, odds & ends, mostly plastic from china. couldnt even buy a shower cap, i left. you cant go to a vegetable market w/out speakers & music. each time all day i was told the same thing: YOURE the ONLY person who has ever complained. this is as good as it gets. why? the rest IS subway, walmart, burger king. & the little guy is competing w/them. so they want to give you an "experience" too! all i want is a normal life, they even have music in the ladies rooms in the malls. everybody everything is in your face all the time. i dont want to cha cha buying a shower cap.

Anonymous said...

I don't even live in NY and this bums me out. I always would stop in to Bobs when I was in town. And every year I get back to NY it is one more boring ass chain that kicks something interesting out. Sad as it is the combination of greedy landlords and bland consumers make for this anywhere. St. Paul, Chicago, NY, Boston, DC... everywhere looks the same.