I'm not sure I really knew what to expect when I stopped into Bleecker Bob's for the last time this morning. Rock luminaries stopping into to pay their respects? Teary-eyed skinheads hugging it out? Heaps of merchandise being set ablaze? I saw none of those things (although they are open until 3am... so I suppose all three could still happen). Around 11:15 am, however, it looked like just another day at the shop. It certainly didn't look like a place that was closing for good in under twenty-four hours.
Not really looking for anything specific, I browsed around the familiar place. I felt obligated to buy something, though, out of respect. But that's when I got my confirmation that it really was going. I asked if they had a copy of Bloodbrothers by the Dictators on compact disc. It's an album I've owned on vinyl since about 1983, but I had the recent urge to hear it again. Chris behind the counter, kind of the Eeyore of the operation, didn't even look up at me. "Nope, we don't have that." Under normal circumstances, he'd probably have checked or offered to order it for me. What was the point now?
My fellow would-be patrons were likely types, similarly wandering around to soak up their final dose of the place. An aging rock dude (like, er...myself), graying at the temple and widening at the waistline beneath his ill-fitting Flamin' Groovies t-shirt asked if there were any Bleecker Bob's t-shirts left (like the one I displayed on this post). They'd, apparently, flown off the shelves in the last couple of days. I'd actually thought of picking one up myself prior to stopping in, but I guess I was too late. Probably for the best, though. As I've said in my numerous posts on the subject before, it'd been a huge while since I'd been a regular customer of Bleecker Bob's.
After snapping a few pics, I asked Chris how the plans for re-location were going. "Well, if it happens," he said with a characteristic dearth of optimism, "we might end up in a space over on East 9th off Second Avenue." That brief glimmer of hope momentarily brightened the mood, but it was an overall depressing experience otherwise. I glumly left the place without purchasing anything, thinking about the countless times I'd crossed that very threshold. This was probably the final time (as I gravely doubt I'll visit 118 West Third Street in its next incarnation.