Monday, December 9, 2019

Colony to CVS

When the great Colony Music was forced to shutter in 2012 by a massive rent hike, after 60 years in Times Square, its space in the Brill Building was gutted and turned into a revolving door of random businesses.


There were Christmas and Halloween stores, a Build-A-Bear Workshop, and some other crap. That's what happens when the new landlord quintuples the rent to $5 million and there's no commercial rent control or any other policies protecting the small businesspeople of this city from unregulated greed.

Now, after 7 years of high-rent blight and unstable pop-up ventures, the space has been taken by the only kind of retailer that can afford such millions--a giant chain store.

Colony is now a CVS.


To add insult to injury, the owners of the landmarked Brill have decided to obscure this gorgeous, historic building with digital screens. (How was the Landmarks Preservation Commission okay with this mess?)

Seven years. What a long, sad trip it's been.

a more beautiful past


Jonah Falcon said...

Colony was my go-to for sheet music and hard-to-find soundtrack music.

RMAN said...

Depressing read. I bought my first sheet music at Colony, Zeppelin's "Black Dog" in the 70s.

Now a frickin CVS. Makes me sick. This city has really sold out in the worst way possible.

samadamsthedog said...

The Landmarks Commission was was probably OK with this mess because the entire Times Square area is zoned not only to allow, but to encourage, large gaudy signs.

But don't you miss the large, gaudy signs of the past? Like the ad for cigarettes that blew smoke rings....

I also miss Colony, but not as much as I miss the small sheet-music stores on upper floors on 49th St. It was hard to find old sheet music at Colony, but easy at those other places. Of course you couldn't find new sheet music at the latter, but I didn't care about that. Unfortunately, I don't even remember the names of these companies.

And I'm sure we all miss the whores and peep shows a block away on 8th Avenue.

James said...

Colony is nostalgia.
I'm not happy seeing "CVS" wherever I gaze in Manhattan, but that reality is only the result of numerous societal changes. If I think back to the "good" Colony Records it was in the 80's (and also well before I got here) when there was actual competition in this type of retail. You had Record Hunter on Fifth Avenue, which I miss even more. You had all the downtown places, and you could buy sheet music at Patelson's and Tower Records, and Sam Goody's. Colony was always a tad ridiculous on prices - especially used records. I remember going in and out empty-handed many times during my early years of struggle in the city.
Sheet music was only available in stores or by mail order, so this - our happier time without certain technology - did involve getting to go into interesting stores and remembering it for years. We are the ones who bought into changing all that. We shop on-line, we expect good values which are on-line right now. We don't go to Times Square to visit stores. We know better. The pain here is that Colony must now vanish without a trace - no mention of it. In other words, the powers that be don't care what was or how many wonderful stores far preceded Colony Records.
Does anyone remember the Commodore Record Shop on 42nd Street? It is doubtful that anyone under 65 does and then only a little. Are we agonizing over that? No we are not. Remember all of it, everywhere, or find out about what you don't know. That's the only way to keep anything alive. Otherwise, try to keep things here, if they are of value to you.

Brian said...

Colony was a unique, only in New York store. I suppose there is an internet store that now sells sheet music.

Brian said...

Also, I have been floored by the number of Duane Reade stores closing in my neighborhood. 3 stores within a few blocks closed last month. Is this going to happen to CVS at some point? Have they simply overdone it with the multiple locations?

Tal Hartsfeld said...

"Retrofitting" (especially historical structures and entities) is seldom pretty.

Manqueman said...

Y'all know that what makes plutocrats and tourists happy is what's important. What natives want or actually need isn't so important.