Wednesday, April 23, 2008

The death and life of great Manhattan record stores

Second update to my story last week about the disappearing record stores of New York City (and the survivors’ efforts to stay in business).

As I said before, some stores were left out, mostly for the usual journalistic reasons: tight space, redundancy, difficulty confirming facts on deadline. Since the piece ran I’ve been contacted by a number of people about omissions, and while most of those stores I had already known about, some of them I hadn’t.

So in the spirit of bloggy completeness, here are all the record stores I’m aware of, each confirmed by phone, visit or reliable source. All the stores in Manhattan, that is. Brooklyn is a whole other can of worms.

I. Open

There are at least 44 39 shops in Manhattan whose primary business is selling CDs and/or records; assuming I have been able to pin down 90 percent of them, the full number might be somewhere around 50 45. I hope to get them all here:


Other stores that have significant record sections (thrift shops with 100 dusty Mantovani and Ohio Players LPs don’t count):

Big Boxes with significant music sections:

  • Barnes & Noble, 97 Warren Street
  • Barnes & Noble, 33 East 17th Street
  • Barnes & Noble, 160 East 54th Street
  • Barnes & Noble, 555 Fifth Avenue, at 46th Street
  • Barnes & Noble, 1972 Broadway, at 66th Street
  • Best Buy, 60 West 23rd Street
  • Best Buy, 1280 Lexington Avenue, at 86th Street
  • Borders, 100 Broadway, at Pine Street
  • Borders, 2 Penn Plaza (33rd Street & Seventh Avenue)
  • Borders, 576 Second Avenue, at 32nd Street
  • Borders, 461 Park Avenue, at 57th Street
  • Borders, 10 Columbus Circle

Big boxes that do not have significant music sections:

  • Barnes & Noble, Broadway at 82nd Street
  • Barnes & Noble, 86th Street and Second Avenue


(Updated and much more thorough map here.)

II. Dunno

Big boxes that I don’t know about because I’m tired of calling and visiting big boxes:

  • Best Buy, 529 Fifth Avenue
  • Best Buy, 622 Broadway
  • Best Buy, 1880 Broadway
  • Circuit City, 232 East 86th Street
  • Circuit City, 521 Fifth Avenue
  • Circuit City, 52 East 14th Street
  • Circuit City, 2232 Broadway

Not sure if this one counts:

  • InMotion Entertainment, Grand Central Station

Status unclear, any info welcome:

  • Discomania, 3883 Broadway, at 162nd Street (open but with liquidation sign up 8/24/08)
  • Discorama Annex, 40 Union Square East (been closed every time I go by there)
  • Bondy’s, 38 Park Row
  • African Movies and Music, 1265 Broadway, Room 600, at 32nd Street (here’s a YouTube tour! though I haven’t been there to confirm)
  • Samassa Records, 1225 Broadway, Suite 319, at 30th Street (comments on YouTube tour above suggest it’s closed)
  • Audio Video Interactive, 915 Broadway
  • NY Music, 151 Canal Street (J-pop?)
  • Always Buying Records, 325 East Fifth Street
  • El Ra, 215 West 101st Street (this appears to be just an apartment building)
  • La Pachanga, 2149 Third Avenue
  • Satellite, 259 Bowery

III. Closed

Here are stores that I can confirm are kaput. Most have closed in the last five years; those are noted in red on the map. (Some stores have continued online, such as Midnight Records.) For purely historical/nerdy reasons I am also including many shops that may have closed long ago.

  • A Classical Record, 547 West 27th Street (owner, Albert ten Brink, passed away 7/08; for a while after closing store, he continued to sell by appointment out of a storage unit)
  • Accidental CDs, 131 Avenue A, near St. Marks Place (closed 7/06)
  • Adult Crash, 66 Avenue A, between Fourth and Fifth Streets (lease taken over in 1998 or 1999 by Etherea, below)
  • Barnes & Noble, 675 Avenue of the Americas, between 21st and 22nd Streets (closed abruptly 3/31/08)
  • Bate, 140 Delancey Street
  • Bobby’s Happy House, 2335 Frederick Douglass Boulevard, at 125th Street (closed 1/21/08)
  • BPM, 334 Bleecker Street (electronica)
  • Breakbeat Science, 181 Orchard Street
  • Cool Runnin’, 73 Second Avenue (reggae; had been open in 1984)
  • Culture Records, 31 Carmine Street (reggae; apparently had been open in 1995)
  • Dance Tracks, 91 East Third Street (closed 11/07)
  • Decadance Inc., 119 Christopher Street (electronica)
  • Downstairs Records, 1026 Avenue of the Americas, between 38th and 39th Streets (closed 11/04; moved to Copiague, N.Y.; had once been at 35 West 43rd Street)
  • Dub Spot, 437 East 12th Street (closed within two years of 2003; is it associated with the Dubspot DJ school?)
  • Eightball Records (a.k.a. The Shop), 105 East Ninth Street (closed 1/22/04)
  • Entertainment Warehouse, 835 Broadway, at 13th Street (long gone; it was open in 1996 — when did it close?)
  • Etherea, 66 Avenue A, between Fourth and Fifth Streets (closed 2/09; took over lease from Adult Crash in 1998 or 1999)
  • Finyl Vinyl, 208 East Sixth Street (closed 12/07)
  • Footlight Records, 113 East 12th Street (apparently closed 8/28/05)
  • Future Legend, 796 Ninth Avenue, at 53rd Street (closed 2/08)
  • FYE, 1290 Avenue of the Americas, at 52nd Street (closed 11/06)
  • FYE, 390 Avenue of the Americas, near Waverly Place (closed 1/05; had been a Sam Goody)
  • Galaxy, 3633 Broadway, at 150th Street
  • Harlem Music House, 567 West 125th Street (closed 11/10/05)
  • Harlem Record Shack, 274 West 125th Street (evicted 7/08, now sells CDs on the street)
  • Heartbeat Records, 107 West 10th Street (closed 11/30/04)
  • HMV, 234 West 42nd Street (closed 4/04)
  • HMV, 308 West 125th Street (closed 5/15/04)
  • HMV, 565 Fifth Avenue, between 46th and 47th Streets (closed 12/04)
  • Jammyland, 60 East Third Street
  • Joe’s CDs, 13 St. Marks Place (closed 6/06)
  • Kappy’s, 91 Pinehurst Avenue, at 181st Street (closed 5/10/04)
  • Kim’s Mediapolis, 2906 Broadway, near 113th Street (opened “late April” 2001, closed 9/15/08; now a Ricky’s)
  • Kim’s Underground, 144 Bleecker Street (How long gone? I’d guess it closed circa 2004-05. It became a Duane Reade.)
  • Kim’s West, 350 Bleecker Street (long gone)
  • Los Amigos, 3444 Broadway, near 141st Street (closed 12/07)
  • Midnight Records, 255 West 23rd Street (closed 3/6/04)
  • 99 Records, 99 Macdougal Street (No Wave landmark, closed in the mid-’80s; some info here; MySpace tribute here)
  • Nostalgia, 217 Thompson Street (jazz)
  • NYCD, 426 Amsterdam Avenue, near 80th Street (store closed 12/25/05; online operation closed 7/07)
  • Rainbow Music Shop, 102 West 125th Street (closed 01/09/04)
  • Record Explosion, 384 Fifth Avenue, near 36th Street (closed 8/04)
  • Record Explosion, 507 Fifth Avenue, near 42nd Street (closed 5/06)
  • Records Revisited, 34 West 33rd Street, room 214 (closed in 2006)
  • Revolver Records, 45 West Eighth Street (had been open at least until 2005)
  • Rocks in Your Head, 157 Prince Street (moved to Brooklyn 5/1/06, then closed — when?)
  • Route 66 Records, 258 Bleecker Street, at Carmine Street (had been there as of at least 1/99 [per old receipt of mine]; at some point moved to 99 Macdougal, then closed — when?)
  • Santo Domingo, 4323 Broadway, near 185th Street (closed 12/07)
  • Second Coming, 235 Sullivan Street (long gone; was raided for bootlegs in 1996)
  • Shrine, 441 East Ninth Street (I think I remember Mark Ibold from Pavement working here; or perhaps it was Strange?, two doors to the east)
  • Smash Discs, 33 St. Marks Place
  • Sonic Groove, 206 Avenue B, near 13th Street (closed 5/28/04)
  • Sound and Fury, 192 Orchard Street (Anyone know when this closed? I remember almost buying a vinyl copy of Oneida’s “Each One Teach One” there, which was 2002 — really regret not getting it, BTW, the handwritten burn I have just ain’t the same)
  • Sounds, 16 St. Marks Place (closed 1/04)
  • STMARX, 80 East 10th Street (closed recently?)
  • Stooz Records, 122 East Seventh Street
  • Strange?, 445 East Ninth Street (long gone)
  • Subterranean Records, 5 Cornelia Street (at least no longer at its longtime address — can anyone confirm that it has closed and not moved?)
  • Temple Records, 29A Avenue B (or was it inside Liquid Sky at 241 Lafayette Street?) (closed within two years of 2003)
  • Throb, 211 East 14th Street (closed 10/31/03)
  • Tompkins Square Bookstore, 115 East Seventh Street (carried a lot of used vinyl; it was a mess but it was a cool place)
  • Tower Records, 721-725 Fifth Avenue, between 56th and 57th Streets
  • Tower Records, Broadway at 66th Street (closed 12/06)
  • Tower Records, Broadway at East Fourth Street (opened 1983, closed 12/06)
  • Tribal Soundz, 340 East Sixth Street, a funky little store with exotic musical instruments (I met Damian, master of the pan flute, here in 2004) and some CDs, shut down recently, details mysterious
  • Triton, 247 Bleecker Street
  • Venus, 13 St. Marks Place (long gone, right? anybody know when they closed?)
  • Vinylmania, 60 Carmine Street (closed 3/17/07)
  • Vinyl Market, 241 East 10th Street (must have closed pretty recently; there were still boxes lying around when I peeked in couple of weeks ago)
  • Virgin Megastore, Times Square, 1540 Broadway, at 45th Street
  • Virgin Megastore, Union Square, Broadway and 14th Street
  • Wowsville, 125 Second Avenue, near St. Marks Place (closed 2/05)
  • Zapp Records, 258 Bleecker Street

Need confirmation/details:

  • Two Record Factory stores, at 17 West Eighth Street and 108 East 23rd Street (they were open in 1984)
  • Two Vinylmania stores: 52 Carmine Street (disco) and 30 Carmine Street (rock) (1984)
  • King Karol, 126 West 42nd Street (was open as of 1984; also had a jazz shop at 33 Park Row)
  • 96 Music (or Ninety-Six Music?), formerly Joe’s CDs West, 96 Christopher Street, possibly closed 4/07
  • Proud A Ras, 119 East Seventh Street, supposedly a tiny reggae shop
  • Free Being, 129 Second Avenue, at St. Marks Place (1984)
  • Downtown Music West, 57 Leroy Street (“satellite store of the original Downtown Music Gallery ... specializes in vinyl singles of dance music from the 1970s onward, but also carries its fair share of avant-garde music by local composers, jazz, blues and alternative rock,” NYT 1994)
  • Watu Records, 41 Carmine Street (reggae)
  • Citidisc, 2264 Broadway, near 81st Street, was an early all-CD shop
  • Orpheus Remarkable Recordings, 1047 Lexington Avenue, at 76th Street (1984)
  • Barry’s Stereo & Sound, 119 (or 111?) East 23rd Street (was open in 1984)
  • Beyond Bass, 60 East Third Street (according to this, it is/was an electronic shop with some assocation to DJ Danny “Buddah” Morales)
  • Delirium Records, 382 West Broadway (according to some guy in 1995)
  • Darton Records, in the back room of Patelson’s sheet-music store, 160 West 56th Street (1984)
  • Music Masters, 25 West 43rd Street (1984)
  • Dayton’s, 824 Broadway (1984)
  • Infinite, 208 Mercer Street (1984)
  • Pyramid Records, 201 Seventh Avenue, near 21st Street (1984)
  • Jimmy’s Music World, 400 Fifth Avenue, at 37th Street (1984)
  • Stackhouse, somewhere in 10012, closed 5/07
  • Star Music, somewhere in 10002, closed 3/08
  • A few Sam Goody’s stores, closed by end of 2003 (there was once one at 1011 Third Avenue, at 60th Street; I believe the former FYE on 6th Ave in the Village used to be a Sam Sam Goody’s — anyone remember the others?)
  • SoHo Music Gallery, 26 Wooster Street, at Grand Street (1984)
  • Music Inn, 169 West Fourth Street (1984)
  • Village Jazz Shop, 163 West 10th Street (“a comfortable, down-home room with sporadic hours and a vast collection of jazz CDs,” NYT 1994)
  • The Zone, somewhere in 10001, said to have closed 5/04


  • A page with info on dead stores

Updates, corrections and any other relevant information is appreciated, and will be incorporated here. Viva la vinyl.

Last updated: September 2009


rudylandsam said...

does that guy still sell records on the sidewalk on Spring Street?

Anonymous said...

The full address of Malachi Records is 139 Fulton St. #135 (You have to take the elevator to the first floor) I know alot people have had a hard time finding the spot. I know I did but I found it.

HollywoodDJ said...

this is nice... i have never seen such a compact collection of all the music and cd stores. nicely done. thank you for the thoughful resource :)

John said...

A nominee for the 'Closed' section:

Though the Jazz Record Center is "open" / operating in Chelsea, it borrowed its namesake and isn't affiliated with the original 50s/60s Jazz Record Center.

-Located on 47th Street
-Owned by former boxer "Big Joe Klauberg"
-Nicknamed Engine Joe's
-Used the buy line "Everything from Bunk to Monk"

Mike the Psych Guy said...

Pyramid Records opened in 1981; it closed in the early 90s, maybe 1993 or 4.
There will never be another used record store like Pyramid ever again.

Anonymous said...

Music Masters closed a long time ago and there are very few mentions of it online. It was a great store that had a mystery list of bootleg tapes (Merman's last night in GYPSY, Streisand's final performance of FUNNY GIRL) that you could buy cassette copies from. When the store closed, the list vanished. I remember going to Footlights Records before they closed and asking if anyone knew what happened to that list. They had no idea. If anyone has ANY information about the Music Masters bootleg list, please email me at Thanks!

Rob said...

Pretty sure Sounds on St. Marks Place is gone-zini.

Rob said...

Oooh...Norman's and J&R are done too. This page needs a revamp! (I know it's almost 7 years old...)

wayne said...

Hi. I am Wayne. Can any one tell me if music masters in nyc is still open? It is or was in midtown. It sells classical, original cast albums, etc. . The owner used to smoke a pipe with an english blend. Can some one help? Thank you. Wayne.

Al Heitzer said...

Wayne: if you took the time to read the comments before your question regarding Music Masters in NYC maybe you would know the answer without wasting a question?