I wasn’t going to post anything on this here, originally, as it didn’t seem signifcant enough, given my thoughts about the place, but then EV Grieve picked up the posts I put up about it on social media and posted about it, so I might as well, too. Here we go.
Second Hand Rose on East 12th between Broadway and University Place appears to be closed. I say appears because EV Grive noticed a detail I first overlooked, that being an addendum note on the door that seems to read “closed for renovations.” That said, if I had a dollar for every business I’ve seen that’s vanished without a trace despite a note that said they were just closed for renovations, I could take myself out to a nice lunch.
This wasn’t the first home for Second Hand Rose. Originally, they were over on Sixth Avenue, just south of 14th Street, in a comparatively larger space. I can’t remember when that iteration of the enterprise closed, but it was probably around 2002 or 2003 that they decamped to East 12th Street. I used to live on that very strip of East 12th, and I was gone before they moved there.
Here’s the thing though: Neither incarnation was anything to write home about.
I don’t mean to be harsh, but -– for a start -– the place was always a mess. You couldn’t find anything you were looking for, and if you did happen to find what you were looking for, it wasn’t though any miracle of organization or assistance from the staff. If you managed to put your hand to an item you were in seach of, it was invariably an accident –- and notice I didn’t qualify that as “happy accident”? You might be happy you found it, but once you saw how much they were asking for it, that happiness would dry up pretty quickly.
More to the point, beyond the disarray of the stock, the afore-cited staff were indifferent on a good day, and downright thorny on an average day. By asking for anything, you were –- at the very least -– inconveniencing them or somehow putting their noses out of joint for daring to upset the deathly stillness of the place. And if you dared extrapolate about some nuance of the record you were searching for, they usually weren’t even slightly interested. If they were music lovers themselves, they certainly hid it well.
Adding insult to injury, they were remarkably particular and fussy about what germs you might be bringing into their shop. Despite their own dust-slathered disheveledness, they posted a snooty admonishment on their front door, scolding anyone who might be afflicted with a cold from considering entry, as if their place was some sort of neonatal intensive care unit.
So yeah, they were sloppy, surly, pricey and under-informed about their own stock. As such, while I’m usually sad anytime a record/disc shop closes, I can’t say I’m especially broken up about this apparent shuttering, nor am I particularly surprised.
That all said, maybe they are just renovating, and will re-emerge, Phoenix-style, from the ashes of their former ignominy with a robust new outlook.
I’m not holding my breath.
In case you think it’s just me that harbors these uncharitable feelings towards the place, here are some select responses from my posts about it on social media…
Wow. Yeah I pretty much disliked that shop, but man was it there for a long time!
They always had great stuff in the window but it was waaaaaay overpriced.
Overpriced and the staff made you feel like you were inconveniencing them even when you made a purchase.
I always wondered how they managed to stay in business. Least favorite record store in the city.
How they stayed in business? When I moved out of my 12th street place, I sold them much of my stash. They offerred my help in finding a new place; both mother and daughter were real estate agents... The store was a kinda-side interest...
Yeah that lady was angry, even by record store standards.