THE STRANGE MUSIC STORE ON 1st AVE
No doubt you’ve passed this shop near the corner of St Mark’s Place and 1st Ave. It’s a ramshackle joint called Rainbow Music and it’s staffed by one elderly gentleman who personifies what New York City has lost by way of shops with personality. In Steve Job’s world, this guy should be redundant thanks to the quagmire of banality that is itunes, but thankfully, with record stores all over the city closing down to make way for artisan coffee shops, subway restaurants or a Duane Reade, this guy is still going. His store is piled, floor to ceiling with CD’s, records, videos and DVD’s. Literally, in gigantic piles leaving you about two feet of width to shimmy through to make it from the front door to the back. The amazing thing is that he knows where everything is! While I was there, metal kids, jazz hounds and curiosity seekers dropped by to chat and shop, and it’s a place like this, with true personality and a haphazard spirit, the type of place where you don’t know what you’ll find, is exactly what needs to survive in any city really. New York is becoming a horribly sterile and uninspiring place, fashion chains like Marc Jacobs and Gap opening on every other corner, carbon copy rustic coffee shops and restaurants eating up Manhattan mainstays. I really hope this guy stays as long as he can, as he reminds me of my Grandfather who owned a crazy and eclectic jazz record store which I worked at from when I was 10 years old until about 14, which taught me about individuality and the benefit of a store and speaking to someone who knows the product. However his lease is up in about 2 years, and going on the recent history of NYC, there is probably a landlord waiting to jack his rent up 100 times and another Duane Reade or 7-11 looking to claim the prime retail spot. Ah well. Visit it while you can.