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« If It Has Come To This.... | Main | One Year Old »

March 08, 2007



I've never heard anyone argue about the pronunciation of the title of the 2nd Joy Division album, but I have to say your friend is correct. You must like being contrary?

99 actually closed in the mid 80's. '84 or '85.

This is a very cool posting...a great trip down memory lane. Thank you.


p.s. Thank you for the mention of the 99 myspace page - thats mine.

Alex in NYC

It's not that I like being contrary, it's that I enjoy being right. And until Messrs. Sumner, Hook and Morris tell me differently, I'm sticking with my pronunciation (and I'm not alone).

And I didn't realize that 99 closed that much earlier. It couldn't have been earlier than `85, tho'. I don't think, at least.

And cheers for the kind words.


If I remember correctly, 99 the label was done by sometime in '84. The record store may have stayed open thru sometime in '85 but definitely no longer. However, the clothing part (99X) stayed open, has been in several locations, and continues to do business on 10th btwn 3rd & 4th where they've been for a while now. Ed Bahlman's old girlfriend, Gina, does not own it anymore though.

I realized there was no mention of Free Being here...

Alex in NYC

Perhaps you should read it again.


I used to work for Second Coming Records in Cambridge.. I'm not surprised in the least that they were shuttered. It was an odd store to work in, the owner was-how to say this delicately?- not the most up-and-up guy I'd ever met. A large amount of the non-bootleg stock was reportedly ill-gotten goods... don't know how true that was, but I know that when I moved to Planet Records, I saw how the model could work and not be sleazy.

Matthew Kaplan

The greatest store New York City ever had was of course in Hoboken New Jersey! Pier Platters it was and never a better joint for indie, alternative, punk, ska or reggae. It was a sad day when it closed and the area has never had a store that carried so many 7" singles since.

Mike Fornatale

DISCOPHILE!! South side of 8th street, somewhere between MacDougal and Mercer. Basement entrance. This was, at first, pretty much the only place to get UK punk 45s. Prior to that they had been pretty much the first stop for import UK prog-rock and such.

DAYTON, 12th street and Broadway. They were mainly for jazz aficionados -- but in the early-to-mid 70s they were one of the best sources for rare 60s LPs, and the prices weren't bad. Gone by the late 80s -- in fact the building they were in was later used for the perennial outdoor establishing-shot on the TV show "Mad About You."

PANTASIA. I can't recall exactly where this was, nor can I find anyone that remembers the place. ;) It was on 2nd Ave, a couple of blocks south of Free Being. Very good source for obscure UK punk and new wave in '78 or so.


Glad to know others remember, sometimes it feel so much has been erased that those times didn't seem real...i was a regular Venus Records Saturday shopper when they were on 8th Street...I used to live around the corner from Free Being and remember that woman Annette with the black mohawk and her english boyfriend from"Broken Bones"working there...great blog by the way!


I remember that the most powerful crushes I had as an adolescent in the '80s, were on the cute, hipster guys that worked in the record stores. Beginning with Hans, the headbanger at Crazy Eddie's, I had many love affairs with record store boys in my head. In NYC, I loved 99, Free Being, Rocks in Your Head; Pier Platters and Crazy Rhythms in NJ, and Mad Platters in Westchester (Later to become Record Stop, then Rockin' Rex). The most fun I ever had at a job was working in a record store. With the internet making the hunt for music treasures such a solitary experience, I guess the music-head kids today must feel kind of isolated a lot of the time. They probably would have enjoyed the pursuit, the culture, and the accompanying interactions with like minded kids in record stores, which often led to the forming of bands, friendships, and even romance. Even though I don't like it when people older than me reflect on their youth as if it were ideal, I don't envy the cool kids these days. My teens, no matter how frustrating and awful they seemed at the time, are looking a lot better these days. At least there were those moments of belonging, discovery and passion... and finding yourself reaching for that same Delta 5 7" as that cutie you've been eyeing...


I worked for two year at the Disc-o-Mat in Riveredge NJ, their flagship store. As a teen, collecting Who albums, a friend and I used to venture to the village once a month and visit many of these stores, Bleaker Bob's, St. Marks Sound, etc. seeking out rarities, imports, and bootlegs. It was such an experience. I'll never forget the time we were in one of them (I forget which one) around the time Tower Records was just opening in the market, and we asked the bohemian clerk behind the counter where it was. Her response was priceless: "It's up the block on Broadway, you can't miss it, it's 'so Californian'" My friend and I laughed all the way to the store


I didn't know Rocks In Your Head had closed. Shit. Second Coming was the first downtown shop I ever bought something at.

I had to pick up some toys errand for my wife. I went into Toys R Us at the Tower Records site. There are dolls in the jazz section.


Another one bites the dust, possibly?:


YES, PANTASIA - Originally on broadway, corner of Dykeman street in washington heights, then second avenue like maybe between 5th and 6th streets, then moved to yonkers. Joel ran it...a genius and absolutely the best import shop, especially pre-punk ie. lots of krautrock and pubrock etc...ALSO, earlier on, Discount records on 8th street corner of fifth ave. early 70's....maybe before your time I think closed around 1974.


Boy, I can't wait for Vintage Vinyl in Fords, NJ to close... what's taking so long?


Great stuff. I came across this site while searching for info on Pantasia. I lived in the Bronx and Pantasia wasn't too far from the 204th Street Bridge. Which brings me to the point. I seem to be a bit older than you and most of your commenters (born in 1952), but while definitely a child of the 60's I still love punk and new wave and frequented so many of the places you list. I have all the Killing Joke singles and that only scratches the surface. Yeah I had a vinyl habit, a plastic junkie faithful to my drug. Record stores, (which back then were starting to emerge from the old music stores that sold instruments and sheet music et al), record stores were so new back in the 60's it was like being a kid in a candy store. So it was eye opening when, circa 1974, I came across this record store, Pantasia, in the upper reaches of Manhattan. I still have their clear plastic business card to this day. Card graphics run the gamut today, but I had never seen such a card like it back then. It added to the perplexing motif of the place. It was a small store with a limited selection, but there, in my tentative browsing, is where I stumbled across Fripp and Eno's No Pussyfooting and King Crimson's import of Earthbound. Whoa! What's this!? Fripp? Eno? A King Crimson import! Hmmmmm... I think I paid something like $9.98 for it, which was a hefty price in those days when a domestic LP was still under four dollars. But hey, it was Fripp and the cover was so cool and it was as if it was my little mysterious secret. It turned out to be one of my cherished albums. Later I got a job teaching at the Manhattan Occupational Training Center, a city school on Houston off Varick, for learning disabled kids and it was during those years (1974-79) that I frequented many of the stores talked about here. In fact a very good friend of mine lived at 240 Sullivan Street, directly across the street from Second Coming and above the Italian-American club. I was there a lot, Second Coming not the Italian-American club. I still have a black 45 sized bag from the place. Yeah that's how nuts I am. I still have bags from these places. I remember their singles were in some sort of theft protective fiberglass box you had to flip through. I could go on and on about this. In any case great memories. Thanks so much...


One of my rarest records came to me in the mail from Pantasia. It is Silver Faces by Doggerel Bank. Pantasia was at 200th and Broadway.

GG Allin

You'll be happy to know that the Joy Division documentary released a few years ago (and available in full on PooTube) refers to Closer many, many times. However, NOT the way you think it should be pronounced! The boys in New Order are pretty clear about it.

Alex in NYC

That's nice, but what matters is how Ian pronounced it.

paul a

lookin for info (& photos) about the lifespan of Joey Psychotic Decurzio's record shop on avenue A. I recently discovered a short 2008 film "gravity". The screenplay was based on a day in the shop:

the tagline reads:

"Lower East Side record store owner Joey Psychotic has a bad day when his debts catch up to him."

would love to get some dialogue goin' about this fading memory. i think he closed down sometime around '94-95?

Eric Hansen

Thanks for the reminiscing. Reading the piece five years after it was written, I wonder if you considered including Kims. . .or was that too video-oriented?

I have lived in northern Manhattan since I moved to NYC in the 70s, so must admit I was not a regular customer of the record shops you listed (ignoring Bleeker Bobs, which is arguably still in business). Then again, I came downtown enough to at least know about them. I think 99 Records impressed me the most - in part because they were promoting their own label. For inexplicable reasons I was also fascinated with their imported shoe inventory - not that I've ever bought a pair of Doc Martens.

Glad to hear from others about Pantasia Records in Inwood. It was a real hole in the wall, as I recall, and I still wonder how it stayed in business for any length of time. Well, fortunately, it was in business when I went there to buy my first imported "punk" albums: The Clash and Never Mind the Bullocks, Meet the Sex Pistols. If the store hadn't been mentioned in the Village Voice, I'm not sure I would have ever heard of the place.

I've found one other record store in Washington Heights/Inwood the past 35 years, and it's only worth mentioning because it existed for any length of time in the area. Well, that and the fact it was located underground in an entrance to the A train stop on 181st St. Can't even recall the name of the place, but I think I only bought one album there - if that. The surprising thing was that by shifting to VHS rentals they kept the business afloat for a few more years (though they relocated to an above-ground store front across the street).


i use to like golden disc bleecker near 6th?

Brian O'Neill

I linked this story an an ILM post, Alex:


Mid-eighties there was a great record shop up on the east side...wanna say 81st ans 2nd ave. killing me that I can't remember the name.

Rosemberg NW

I own thousands of records from the 70's and more than half free being record store on 2nd ave . I loved it

Eric Rosenberg

I used to shop at Pantasia in Inwood regularly as a teenager. I remember going there right after school to pick up the the Clash's "London Calling" the day it was released in the U.S., ah the smell of UK pressings and sleeves, it was so different! The bigger thrill that day came from looking at the cover and realizing I saw that now infamous moment of Paul Simenon smashing his bass guitar as it happened when the band played the Palladium some months before. Another strong memory is buying a supposed Sex Pistols "Live" album which turned out to be alternate studio cuts. I was so annoyed that it wasn't what Joel said it was that I took the bus all the way back to the store from Riverdale to return it (which he graciously let me do). Of course what I returned is now well known as the "Spunk" album, oh well didn't know any better back then!


I'm curious as to why no one has mentioned FOOTLIGHT RECORDS on W. 12th Street (former on 3rd Avenue & 13th St.)

Alex in NYC

Well, RLB, that's because -- at the time of this post's writing -- FOOTLIGHTS was still open.

Stephen Hausler

does anyone remember Pyramid Records on 7th and 22nd?

Ed Lake (from the UK)

In 1974 I did a 'Greyhound Bus' tour of the States. At some point while in NY, I picked up a secondhand vinyl copy of Gary Burton's "Seven Songs for Quartet and Chamber Orchestra". It still has its Free Being sticker on it, with price $2 and phone number 212-250-1774. Still treasured!

Hope that helps with the nostalgia.

I grew up on Bleecker St & MacDougal. Bleecker St is spelled with a "c"....just sayin'.

Tommy Taylor

Kappy's was the record store on 181st & Ft. Washington Avenue

Harold Grey

Alex, I remember that KJ poster in 99 Records. I spied it when purchasing a Bush Tetras single I seem to recall. Didn't Wowsville have another name? I don't recall the pink facade, but I remember a record store a few doors south on Second Ave from Gem Spa. Was that the same place?

San Jose, CA

Alex in NYC

That was FreeBeing, Harold. See that here:

and here...

Alex Panowko

Sounds.StMarks Place. Was still open in 2015
Vinyl Cd. Dvd. Got the Smoking Popes Live at the Metro. Cd/Dvd for in the famous 88c section

Alex Panowko

Pantasia was the only good record place in Washington Heights near Dyckman St
lots of imports,promos and a pretty good prog section

Enrique Valderrama Bilbao

Hello friends, my name is Enrique, congratulations for this AMAZING trip in time to 33 1/3 and 45 revolutions per minute within our memories! .. I was born in Bilbao - Spain in '55 and unfortunately I arrived very late to New Jersey New York was the year 1984 ... (like the Spirit group song) would I like to know what the most crowded streets of Records Stores of the 60s, 70s and 80s in New York? And if possible to name them to refresh the memory Of the palaces of the sound that has accompanied us in all our existence Perhaps! 8th Street or St Mark Place both legendary Greenwich Village sites? PD:..Another one so good and deep Midnight Records at
148 W 23rd St...WOW!..( it`s really closed too?) Well...that so bad!..Well..A hug from New Jersey! my friends! Https://

Philly Girl

Hi I pulled all my Yoko Ono cds out today since it is her 85th birthday, and most of them have Venus Records stickers on them. We are from Phila. and used to travel up to NY every month to buy music items, stuff we could not get here. Of course before the internet. I miss those stores, We used to spend hours checking all the goods and always found something to buy.

Joel Heumann

Re Pantasia Recorz: Although it and its successor, Mad Platters are long gone, I do have a Mad Platters facebook page, with reminiscences and other music stuff.


Can anyone remember a record store at 253 (I think) Sullivan Street between Bleecker and W. 3rd? I recall that it was named Saturn Records and it was definitely open in the mid '80s. I can't find any mention of it at all on the internet but I'm sure it was there.


Sorry, I confused "Saturn" with Second Coming Records at 235 Sullivan. Ignore above comment, thanks. Great blog post by the way, brings me back to the '80s collecting records all over the E and W Village.

Steve Windows

Revolver Records in San Francisco at 6th Ave on Clement St. They had the entire place lined with kookie record covers. It was quite entertaining just to stand there and pick a wall to look at. I have no idea just how much of my money ended up there but most of my records have their price stickers on them.


From what I remember, I'm pretty sure Crazy Eddie was on 86th street between 3rd and Lexington before moving to 3rd avenue between 83rd and 84th streets.

Alex in NYC

Nope, other way around. The Third Avenue location was Music Maze (or Musical Maze) for many yeas before turning into Crazy Eddie, and then Crazy Eddie decamped to 86th in about 1984. I vividly remember buying OH NO IT'S DEVO (1982) and STUKAS OVER DISNEYLAND by the Dickies as a new release (1983) as respective new releases, and then getting NIGHTTIME by Killing Joke (1985) at the 86th St. location. I also lived on 86th at the time.

Alex in NYC

More about those locations here:


I could've sworn it was the other way around.
Oh well, either way, brings back great memories. I also grew up in the area on 83rd, 84th and 93rd streets. My mom bought me a radio when crazy eddie was on 86th. And when they were on 83rd/84th, my friends used to buy atari cartridges from there.


Thanks for the update and link to blog.
Took a trip down memory lane.


Second Coming Records was the first NYC record store I ever went to, in 1984. I remember their 45s were in a bin with a plexiglass lid that was locked. There was a hole in the center of the top of the lid big enough to put your hand through so you could take out the singles you wanted, then you had to get an associate to unlock the lid to buy the singles. I also loved Vinyl Destination on Carmine Street. That's long gone too. Thank you for the memories.

Marcelo Romero

My name is Marcelo Romero and I grew up on 72nd street in Manhattan. I was 12 yrs. old in 1977 when I got into music. I went to St. Ignatius School and everyday at 3pm would walk to Musical Maze a few blocks from school, especially since one of the clerks was the guitarist from The Cramps. Me and Henry Behn bought the 1st Cramps 7" there. They also began to stock bootlegs which wad great! I bought Aerosmith Look Homeward Angel and the Beatles Live In A Judo Arena and Kiss Blitz London. They sold rock posters, too. In the back they had a video arcade as well.

Wax Monster X

No one ever mentions Bonaparte which I'm pretty sure was on Bleeker in the early 80s. They had a sh*t ton of amazing UK imports. Bought a sick amount of 7" there as they were always in the most pristine condition unlike Freebeing whose sleeves were always in crap condition because they kept the discs behind the counter, so the empty sleeves were always bent. Those were the golden days of record shopping!


To the person asking about Pyramid Records, I came onto this site trying to find their original location. They ended up on 7th @ 22nd after having situated on Mercer Street just north of Houston, maybe partnering with a bookseller, but I believe it was the same bunch, who had originally opened a store (definitely earlier than ‘78) in Alphabet City – I’m thinking maybe 6th & A? Going there, you had to keep looking over your shoulder, so not a lot of foot traffic – I’m not surprised they bailed when they could.


Anyone remember Sunset rehearsal studio ? It was run by a guy named Phil... late 60’s into the late 70’s

John DiBella

Second Coming, Revolver, It's Only Rock And Roll and Bleecker Bob's were all within walking distance of the 14th St subway stop. I grew up in Stamford, CT and my buddy Ted and I spent MANY a Saturday doing that whole circuit, expanding our collections. Great memories.


Who is listening to records in 2021? I'm listening to some early Yngwie and reminiscing about Crazy Eddie's in Westchester/White Plains, NY. Of course I remember Hans 'Headbanger' (that was his name listed on a cardboard poster, just above the metal/rock pick of the week), back in the late 70s and early 80s. We saw him at the store and talked with him just about every weekend for a few years, while browsing records. Thanks to 'Alissa' for posting about Hans here, back in 2007. That's how I found this site, with a quick Google search.

Barb Lodermeier

I lived in NYC, and my then husband and I lived 2 doors down from Richard Butler and his wife Annie. They lived at 14 St. Marks Place, above a hardware store. The hardware store is now long gone. Richard now lives in upstate New York, and is still exhibiting his paintings.
I miss old New York. Guliani Disneyfied Times Square and other quaint places around NYC.

Larry S.

Great reference guide to some of my favorite record stores in the village. I'd hit 3 or 4 of them on a daily basis as new inventory came in. Hopefully, someone will remember what the name of the record store at either 68 or 70 Bleecker Street (between Broadway and Crosby streets) was called. One of the guys that worked there was an Asian guy named Garland or Garlon. I heard and bought my copy of George Kranz' 'Din Da Da' there. It had a red store front, but I can't seem to find any reference for the store anywhere and not too many people remember it either. I will have to dig through my records to find a label. Any help would be great. I used to DJ many of the parties at NYU and Columbia from 1983-1993 and lived on campus and loved that time in NYC.

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