I miss my record browsing days. Flipping through the bins of vinyl albums was an adventure that could absorb hours of my time.---Arlee Bird.
|J&R on Park Row, in New York City (Wikipedia)|
When I asked "What Does Manhattan Say to You?" I wasn't too surprised by the answer I got from Larry at DiscConnected:
Having grown up so close to NYC (Philly), a lot of images come to mind.
However, my most vivid images are of St. Mark's Place in the east village, where I would venture four of five times each year for a CD buying excursion. The stores are gone now, but the block had about eight different stores that would usually yield more treasures than I had any business spending money on.
The day would usually start at J & R Music World on Park Row, across from the World Trade Center.
My last trip there was on Friday, September 8, 2001, I believe the same day Ryan Adams filmed his "New York" music video. Sadly, the lower triangle's landscape changed forever a few days later, and that was my last trip to J & R. The village stores closed over the next few years, and now I find my CD's on the internet.
But I miss those days spent browsing. I had a good friend (Kent) who was also an avid collector, although my collection eclipsed his when his priorities got screwed up and he had offspring.
I had a job offer in Manhattan at the same time as I took the transfer to Arizona, and I still do not regret it. In my twenties, I would have loved the city life, but by that time, I'd spent ten years on the road (as an auditor) and was ready for a quieter life.
Still a great place to visit, though.
My Own Music Sprees
Larry's story is one to which I can totally relate except for the locale. I would have loved to have shopped those record stores in Manhattan. I call them record stores even though most of my purchases eventually became cassettes and then later CD's. My earliest buying excursions would mostly have been shopping the cut-out bins for record albums when I still lived in Tennessee. If they were cheap then I might buy a number of them in one visit. However when I was paying full price I'd usually only be able to afford one or two at a time.
Later on when I began touring with a road show I spent my free time in whatever city I happened to be in scouring the record stores for cassette tapes. I guess I bought a few thousand cassettes during the 80's. My favorite place to go cassette shopping was on Younge Street in downtown Toronto. Since we were paid in Canadian money when we worked in that country I wanted to spend as much money as I could so I didn't have to lose money exchanging to U.S. currency when we returned to the states. I'd load up on the latest cassettes as well as older music that I had been wanting. On my off days--we usually had about a week off in Toronto--I'd spend hours in those music stores which were huge.
I can easily see myself in Manhattan shopping those same stores that Larry describes. That is if it were back in the 70's, 80's, or 90's. Now I very rarely buy any recorded music. In the nineties I started buying CD's and now have a huge collection that I rarely listen to. In one sense it's sad to think of all that money I spent on vinyl, cassettes, and CD's. On the other hand I can think of the hours and hours I spent listening to and enjoying that music. My hours driving during my road years would have been much less enjoyable had I not had my music to entertain me.
Have you spent a lot of time in stores browsing for something that you enjoyed? Do you own much recorded music now? Can you recall some of your old favorite haunts for buying recorded music?