Monday, October 17, 2016

Bleecker Street Records

VANISHING

Back in 2013, I shared the news that Bleecker Street Records, after over 20 years in business, would be leaving Bleecker Street--and relocating to West 4th--when the landlord hiked the rent to $27,000.

Now we hear they are vanishing completely.



Jason at Generation Records wrote in:

"As of Halloween 2016, we will be making some significant changes at Generation Records. After much deliberation, we have decided to close our sister store, Bleecker Street Records. A number of factors have contributed to this decision, most notably the proximity of our two stores and the realistic necessity of having them both in a neighborhood that has seen a drastic rent hike in recent years. We realize that the loss of yet another record store in Manhattan seems discouraging, but our hope is to secure the future of Generation Records as a Village staple."

He reports they'll be consolidating all the stock from Bleecker Street Records to Generation on Thompson Street, and hope to be around for a long time.

With Rebel Rebel recently gone, and Bleecker Bob's before that, it's one of--how many record stores left in the Village?

As I've said before, moves are hard to make. When a landlord hikes the rent or denies a lease renewal, it looks like good news if the small business can find a new spot. But many close the new location within a few years.

Meanwhile, the old Bleecker Street Records spot remains a Starbucks.





19 comments:

Trevor Kirk Lawson said...

Unfortunately this is no suprise. The store was never the same after it moved.

Donnie Moder said...

Perhaps this is too obvious to point out. Records are about as in demand as buggy whips. How many record players even remain in Manhattan? I think anyone older than me probably never owned a record player, and I am over 50. So it is expected that record stores disappear.

Larvik said...

Donnie Moder, this is simply not true. There is a market for vinyl, in fact it has been steadily increasing in the last 5-6 years and is at a high not seen since the 1990's. Several new record shops have opened in North Brooklyn in recent years. The problem here is rent and also a neighborhood that has changed considerably around such shops. The average West Village resident these days likely does not frequent record shops or the "less manicured and curated bookshops".

James said...

I lament all of these losses, but then I lament the loss of Cortland Street - Radio Row, and I never even saw it. It was beginning to vanish when I was toddling. All this means that the analogue world will become more and more fascinating as time marches (slides, glides, soars) forward, and someone needing a PhD will want to write about it. It will always be somewhere.

Downtowner said...

This makes sense - the two stores are really close, and last time I was in Generation it was pretty empty. No way two could survive.



Jonathan said...

Actually I believe last year artist revenue from vinyl was close or similar to that of free streaming :

https://www.google.com/amp/pitchfork.com/news/64345-vinyl-sales-made-more-money-than-free-streams-last-year/amp/?client=safari

Scout said...

I miss those old buttonhook stores, too. Oh, and those shops that sold anvils. And telegraphs! I can't believe those places are gone...

Despite the comment above suggesting that there is a great demand for vinyl, I think very few of us know anyone who has bought it in 20 years or more. If "the average West Village resident these days likely does not frequent record shops," then why mourn the passing of an unneeded vendor?

Larvik said...

Scout, the creative community which was at one time so dense in the EV/WV has been scattered to the winds. At one time two dozen or more record shops were supported by this community in the EV alone. The problem with Bleecker St records closing is varied; likely we will see a further blandification of the retail environment in it's absence but also it helps to eradicate the sense of place that such establishments offered and was for many many years so strong.

I would like to add that just because you do not know people who consume music in it's physical form does not mean that they do not exist and are not suffering a blow by the demise of Bleecker Records and it's ilk.

Scout said...

Larvik, no one said that nobody buys vinyl; the point is that there clearly aren't enough vinyl customers to keep multiple stores in operation.

And as far as "blandification" (must we make up such words?) or eradication of sense of place - those can be interpreted as complaints against any change at all. Until a new vendor arrives, we have no way of knowing what will take its place. It just might be something that many residents need more more than vinyl.

Or should the City subsidize sparsely-patronized businesses, with a niche clientele, merely to avoid change?

Scott Schnipper said...

The observation that relocated stores seldom pan out is exemplified by the Gotham Book Mart experience.

It's refuted by the example of Murray's Cheese.

Matt J said...

I know literally hundreds of folks who still buy vinyl. And as mentioned above, it's popularity has been growing over the past decade. Donnie and Scout may not know many people that buy music in a physical form, the same as they may not know any artists, so they might not lament the closing of Pearl Paint.
New York City is dying, and becoming an overpriced mall with little soul.

Donnie Moder said...

I purchased a lot of art supplies front Pearl Paint over the years. I belong to a cooperative gallery in Tribeca. I stopped buying records in 1980 and went to tapes, then cds a few years later. And I don't know anyone who buys records. Mmmm. Also, the article cited sas vinyl represents a miniscule percentage of the market even though a tiny niche has grown in the last 7 years.

Larvik said...

Donnie you sound like a blast to hang out with.

Bill Baker said...

I love shopping in the Village. I started in the early 80's on the hunt for records, posters, memorabilia. There was nothing like a day of shopping and all the bags to get home when done. Then slowly they started closing, the greats on 8th st. went, then the surrounding ones. I'm 50 and I still want vinyl, real CDs, DVDs, etc. all the great places are closing or moving to a smaller place to save on rent to survive. Even my fave place Trash and Vaudeville had to move, and it's just not the same. I just hope that combining the two stores will make them better, keep better stock, and they will survive. Long live NYC / Village shopping trips!! -Billvis

Donnie Moder said...

You're sweet too, Larvik.

DrBOP said...

FUCK PROGRESS

it ain't THAT anymore

Annie said...

But what about the cat??!! I hope she will be moving to the new location - she's sweet.

Jeremiah Moss said...

I'm sorry to say, the cat died.

gs said...

There were two cats in Bleecker Street - big grays