Monday, December 10, 2012

Bleecker Bob's: Closing

After nearly a year of discussion and speculation, Bleecker Bob's has made it official. On their Facebook page this weekend they announced:

"well, it's SAD NEWS people. don't really know how to say this so here goes.....after 40+ years in existence, BLEECKER BOB'S will be closing!!!! looks like another month or 2 maybe. we'll definitely be open thru to the New Year, maybe even a couple of months into 2013. as of right now though we're still buying, selling and trading music PLUS we have new tshirts in stock so you can remember us and tell your kids or grandkids about the legendary Bleecker Bob's!!"



Back in January, I passed along the news from Ken Mac at Greenwich Village Daily Photo who first shared the shocker that Bleecker Bob's was being taken over by Starbucks. That rumor was shot down, but later that month, the store confirmed to Ken that they were looking to move to the East Village. However, said the owner, "we are definitely NOT planning to close."



Throughout the year, bloggers and other journalists said their goodbyes, and told the story of Bleecker Bob's troubles and their hopes to find a space in the East Village.

Capital New York produced a heartbreaking documentary about the shop in July and wrote, "Bleecker Bob’s will stay open until the landlord has found a new tenant. When it goes, it will take with it a huge part of the history of the Village. And it looks unlikely to find a new place to open up."

In September, the record shop was still looking for a spot in the East Village. But the East Village isn't cheap and, as we all know too well, many mom-and-pops have been priced out.

Now, with their most recent Facebook announcement, it looks like Bleecker Bob's is done. Presumably, the landlord has found a new tenant. We won't be surprised if it does turn out to be a Starbucks. Or maybe a frozen yogurt shop. Or something equally useless and infuriating.



Admittedly, I've never been much of a music enthusiast. My passion goes to books. But I remember being brought to New York by a native, my first time as a young adult, and how she led me emphatically to Bleecker Bob's, saying the name as if it were a holy thing, the land of milk and honey. My friend knew the guys who worked there, moved through the place like she owned it, all confidence in her black leather jacket. As I shyly sifted through the records in their bins, I knew I was in an important place. But it was the presence of Bob's antique clocks that dazzled me and stayed fixed in my memory of that day.

Now I keep thinking about those clocks in Bleecker Bob's. With their neon rims and mid-century numerals, those dusty, busted, stopped clocks have watched over the place, watching the people come and go, watching them age and disappear.

Time stopped when you entered Bleecker Bob's. For a little while, anyway.

 

25 comments:

Anonymous said...

As Jim Morrison once said "I'm gonna get my kicks until the whole shit-house goes up in flames."

Hope everybody got their kicks because without Bob's on 3rd St. the inferno is about to get a little bigger.

..And the city continues to burn in the flames of generic,dick-faced white corporate blandness.

JAZ said...

Sigh

I feel like a broken record (no pun intended), but I really think for survival, independent bookstores and record shops should look to partner up and share space.

In any case, another depressing loss making this city that much less recognizable to the people that actually care about the city.

Sybil Bruncheon said...

A city run by and FOR Philistines... the Mayor being the biggest and most vile of them.....at least he's consistent! Consistently a Babbitt, a self-serving 1%-er with NO concern for a diverse and healthy middle-class that creates small entrepreneurial and singular businesses...

Marty Wombacher said...

Well that sucks. Looks like I have one less place to go to when I come back to visit.

Anonymous said...

I first shopped at Bleecker Bob's in the summer of '77. An old friend going away with so many others.

cathryn/wsp said...

Jaz, that is a really good idea actually (indie book stores and record stores partnering). this is sad. All the unique special eclectic a little bit off beat places just ... well... vanishing.

The Jaded NYer said...

Man, I used to browse in there on my lunch breaks all the time. Might have even bought a few LPs. This really makes me sad!

Anonymous said...

I feel sorry for thekids out there who are under 30 - who have likely never stepped foot into an individually operated, non-chain store.

To this new generation, maybe there is something reassuring about being able to shop at exactly the same chain stores you shopped at your whole life in suburban Indiana.

There was something to be said for shops like these - where when you walked in the front door, you did not already know that skinny jeans would be in a display exactly halfway down on the right, and the Uggs display would be on the left, just like in Breckenridge, Des Moines, San Juan, you name it...

Anonymous said...

Are any music stores left in NYC? I used to go to one on Bleecker between Christopher and Grove. Can't remember the name of it; hope it's still in business.

Why did Bob collect clocks?

Ken Mac said...

Bobs would have had a better chance if their general stock wasn't made of dinosaur vinyl, most of it incredibly picked over. It's like they stopped caring in 1986.

Anonymous said...

Shockingly, REBEL REBEL is still on Bleeker St., off Christopher St. It's one of the last ones left (or maybe it is the last one).

I used to frequently visit Vinylmania, which is now some stupid cupcake shop, as well as Disc-o-rama, Eight ball and Dance Tracks. All gone. All have been replaced by restaurants or coffee shops. So sad.

And New York continues it's slow (or some would say rapid) death/descent into blandness...

79rigid said...

I was in the store in September and he told me they were closing.Such a bummer.Go buy a shirt I guess.

Utherben said...

Have to agree with Ken Mac - while it's really sad to hear Bobs is closing, they've done themselves no favors over the years. Still, I'll miss 'em.

Chuck Macdonald said...

Museum your store, share it with the rest of the world, clearly it could be its own 'Strawberry Field' forever like Cleopatra's Needle (we just need the interpretations for the tourists, as they may not understand the lyrics).

if this was a brendan comment said...

High rent didn't kill Bleecker Bob's Record Store, the change in music industry care did.

Anonymous said...

Good to see this shop is finally done for. The karma Bob and Chris gave out has come home to roost.

Lemmy Tellya

Anonymous said...

Actually, the original location of Bleecker Bob's was on the west side of Macdougal St just south of 8th St. There is a "thrift" shop there now. I remember a lot of us were a bit broken up when Bob's moved from that location in the mid 80s, I think.

Tony Spad said...

I shopped at Bleeker Bob's when he had his store at the top of MacDougal St. I remember him as being very mean and nasty, but I still kept returning. I have most all of the imported punk records that I bought from him in the early 80's and still remember his mean ass Doberman growling at everyone when they came in the store. I will stop by this month to try and buy a small item from the store-- Long Live Bleecker Bob's!!!

Anonymous said...

There's always eBay! Or a self storage locker store... Time to think outside the box.

Brian Dubé said...

Wow. We really have to hurry before Old New York completely disappears at the hands of Starbucks and chain stores. New York City has such a rich history and it's going up in flames right before our eyes.

Bill said...

Condescending rudeness and ridiculously high prices might have had a little to do with Bob's imminent closing. Maybe those Phillistines are right...

Anonymous said...

Before there was Bleecker Bob's there was the legendary Night Owl Cafe, home to such legends as Tim Buckley, The Lovin' Spoonful, Tim Hardin, James Taylor, Jerry Jeff Walker and so many more. If you're interested in learning more about the history and musicians of the Night Owl, visit my Night Owl Tribute Page on facebook. It was a sad when they closed, and now another sad one to see Bleecker Bob's go the same route. http://www.facebook.com/NightOwlCafeTributePage?ref=tn_tnmn

metalian said...

Started goin there in the eighties. . .just a teenaged metalhead looking for cool vinyl from Venom, Mercyful Fate, also crossover like DRI, English Dogs. . . etc.Would stop and get a slice at Rays, then over to Bob's to flip through the records and force myself to pick from the many choices that I craved. Went less over the years, but never passed up a chance when in the neighborhood. I stopped in last year and bought a Gary Moore cd of unreleased demos and cool unreleased traks. Gotta stop by one more time.

B Fox said...

For all you music fans who don't quite want to say goodbye to Bleecker Bob's, New York photographer Matthew Carasella just opened a show featuring "portraits" of the store during the final 72 hrs! It's called "Classic Rock" - includes cool vintage cars too! On view at the restaurant LIC Market : 21-52 44th Dr. Long Island City, NY. Opening reception Tuesday May 14th from 6pm-9pm. Open to public.
Online info at matthewcarasella.com

genevieve said...

First went to Bleecker Bob's in '68.Walk by this past July and it was gone. All my old haunts are gone.