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.