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« Changing University Place | Main | Where The Music Lived: Remastered Extra Tracks »

August 09, 2013



St. Marks Sounds

Megan O'Connor

I remember all of these. It's Jammyland that I miss...mostly because I worked there. We would occasionally mock (with affection) Dance Trax which was just down the block.

John Stavrianos

seconding St. Marks sounds!


I grew up in Jackson Heights, so for me it was Numbers Records and Tapes. I was a metal head, but I remember looking at the Sonic Youth records in the "indie" section. I wish I would have gotten into them back then (the '80s).

Brian Prager

Midnight Records on 23rd Street.

Al Quaglieri

This is wonderful, nice work. I'd have bought a lot more from Future Legend, but they only accepted cash.


Downstairs Records - when they were in the subway @ 6th & 43rd st exit.

Zig Zag - Ave U in Brooklyn, also the short lived UES location was cool.

Titus Oaks.

Is Other Music still there?

Both branches of Sounds + Kims = empty wallet, usually.

Also fun to hang out at:
J&R Music - when Tim Warren worked there.
King Carol - on 42 st around the time Jahn Xavier worked there


I think Ear Wax still exists in Williamsburg, but they moved. Been there a few times when they were on Bedford avenue, totally hated it (lots of CDs, not enough vinyl, too much attitude).


somewhere on E7th st. there was a second hand record shop I knew as Max's. I bought a copy of red vinyl "Nazz Nazz" there. Max said "Wait a minute, that's rare" So I paid $3 for it...

Ol Yella

Anyone else remember Space Age Bachelor Pad on E. 10th?


st marks sounds is still there


Nice post! Enlightening. I only lived in New York from 2001-2010 so a lot of these places are foreign to me. What about Kim's on St. Mark's Place? That was my go-to spot along with Virgin Megastore Union Square.

Steve Holtje

Ear Wax closed the Bedford Ave. store in June or July this year but merely moved four blocks away, to North 9th St. That location is less visible and smaller, so I worry they may not last. Also, they are phasing out CDs and emphasizing vinyl.

Stuart Wexelbaum of Stooz' runs something out of his basement in Williamsburg on North 11th St.

Those of us who cared about classical music more than you (which is setting the bar pretty low) loved Record Hunter.

In the category of places you left out, besides the already mentioned places dear to me (Midnight, Sounds), there was Finyl Vinyl, Second Ave. in the Village if memory serves, and Sam Goody's, various locations, with their weird system of letters on the LPs with a big sign hanging from the ceiling that translated those letters into prices.

What was the name of the overpriced collectors LPs store across the street from Second Coming? Hated them, but couldn't resist some of the rarities.

Mikey Chlanda

I used to work at Second Coming, maybe a year or two after Andre opened. I was his 3rd employee...worked there about year or two off and on during college. His wife Gladys was a sweetheart. That tattooed guy must have been after my time. i have a story about his bootlegging...but that will have to wait for a pm or a later private comment :-)


I will always fondly remember the Musical Maze on Third Avenue just south of 23rd Street. There was a counter in the back called the Singles Bar, and it had all the latest, especially British stuff. I remember buying a version of “Wild in the Streets” by a band called the British Lions. It took me a listen or two to realize it didn’t hold a candle to the Garland Jeffreys original. Also, it’s where I bought the “No New York” album, no doubt influenced by the fact that the fellow behind the counter, George, played for the Contortions.

Earlier, E.J. Korvette’s at 34th Street and Sixth Avenue often had the cheapest prices around, offering Billboard’s Top 10 practically as loss-leaders. I got “There Goes Rhymin’ Simon” there, and a double album called something like “Chuck Berry: 20 Golden Hits.”

P.S. That photo of the Record Hunter alongside Brew and Burger is awesome. A little fuzzy, but awesome.

Peter Freeman

I remember a lot of those places but had little love for them other than that they were places I could buy stuff I couldn't find anywhere else. They tended to employ guys with unwarranted, unpleasant attitude.

But I did LOVE Tower records on B'way. Everything about it. The smell of newness of it. The yellow bags. The great big windows. All the different sections. It was an exciting place that knew how to display records, so you just wanted to buy, buy, buy. I spent a lot of my life there in the 80s and a lot of my money and don't regret a dime or a second of it. There was an annex a block further back and a discount store as well. Loved them all and love the memory of them. Always will.

The 66th St store was never as good but was still a great place.

The Los Angeles Tower on Sunset was an LA landmark and sold great discount albums for $4.99.


Met my husband when we were both working at the Lincoln Center Tower Records in the late 1980s, and I bought my first-ever-purchased-on-my-own record at that Woolworth's, the Xanadu soundtrack, for the obscenely high price of $9.95.


For the photos you can't cite, you might be able to right-click on them and find some information about the photographer from the metadata or EXIF data.

Unrelated, but thought you might want to know: The LCD Soundsystems documentary "Shut Up and Play the Hits" is now on Netflix.

I watched it once solely on your recommendation from a post of yours a while back, not realizing I knew quite a few of the songs. Had to watch it again about two days later because I enjoyed it so much. Still haven't removed it from my Instant Queue, because I have a hunch I will be watching it again.


Who remembers when Rocks In Your Head used to serve ice cream in the back & show movies on a vcr/small tv? I do! I saw the Clash's Rude Boy there.

I too have many personal memories tied up with a lot of the places on this list...

I had a band in the 80's with Paul & Greta from Future Legend, in fact I went to High School with both of them too (even Jr. High w/Paul!), and I didn't know that they had a record store until about a week before they closed. Tried calling up there when I found out & the phone had already been turned off. Damn.


And oh yeah--I second zev's call:


That was the church, for me.
That's been gone for YEARS, and it still hurts.

Jonathan Hertzberg

For soundtrack aficionados near and far, Footlight was the place.

You can catch a glimpse of one of the King Karol locations, perhaps it's the 42nd St. one, in BADGE 373.

I was too young to have frequented it, but anyone remember Record City, which appears in 1981's THE FAN starring Lauren Bacall and Michael Biehn (Biehn's character works in the shop)?


Also Norman's Sound and Vision and Wowsville.

Peter Holsapple

BabyDave, I worked at Musical Maze on 23rd Street and 3rd Avenue, then eventually Record Factory. The Maze was a wonderful place. We sold a lot of records to SVA students who grabbed their new NMEs and came looking for the newest stuff--sometimes we even had it. The singles section was called Single City and even had the name up over the shelves. The building's water heater was downstairs, and the super had painted it up to look like King Tut's sarcophagus. There were a number of reasons the Maze went down, but the crowning blow was the high-end call girl operation called the Cookie Jar that was going on upstairs. Unfortunately, every picture you saw just had Musical Maze's storefront in it. To Burt, Jan, Martin, George, Eric, Ed, Steve and all who staffed the store--thanks for the memories!

jim Sharpe

Does anyone remember Soho Music Gallery?


I shopped in most of these above mentioned stores, great list. I would say though that you sold Stooz a little short, I bought a bunch of cool funk soul and jazz LPs there.

Lello Boscoverde

Awesome post, dude.

What about the Kim's'es? Kim's West, which closed, miraculously reopened, and then closed less than a month later. Kim's Underground, which turned its music section into the porn section before closing. Kim's Mondo, of course. (Or Mondo Kim's?)

Or Temple (on 9th). Or Gimme Gimme (on 5th).

Daniel Morris

Norman's Sound And Vision is now on Metropolitan in Williamsburg. The North 6th St Academy Annex is soon moving to Greenpoint.

Alex Belth

What about King Caroll on the west side near the Port Authority? I remember buying Cosby's "Wonderfulness" and Carlin's "Toledo Window Box" there.


No mention of the amazing Tropicalia in Furs. Joel was a NYC institution.


Peter Holsapple: I stand corrected about the Single City/Singles Bar mix-up. Didn’t know about the Cookie Jar operation, though. Thanks for sharing the history.


Peter H: I stand corrected about my Singles Bar/Single City mix-up. And I never knew (honest) about the Cookie Jar situation. Thanks for the history.


I would like to note how amazing some of the help at Tower Records (West 4th) could be. One day in my youth I approached the guy manning the jazz section. Fearfully, I said "I need to learn Coltrane. I'm a rock n roll Hendrix head, know nothing about jazz, but it comes to me that I need to learn Coltrane. Can you help me?" He went on for 20 solid minutes before handing me Ballads, A Love Supreme, listening instructions, as well as an order to return to the store in a month, to discuss. Which I did.


I bought a LOT of stuff at Record Runner in the west village. I assume it's not there anymore but I honestly don't know for sure as I live in the EV and am rarely in the west village. There also used to be a little outlet store with used CDs on St Marks at the top of a set of stairs. I forgot it's name but there is a Karaoke bar there now. So many hours spent at Tower on E 4th St. I miss them all!!

St Mark

Don't forget Norman's, Gimme Gimme, Venus in Furs in the East Village....all gone...

- East Villager

Jeremy Shatan

Great rundown...I gave money and time to most, if not all, of these shops. I could add the Woolworth's on Columbus in the 90's. I know I bought Jimmy Page's Death Wish II soundtrack there, as well as Queen's Another One Bites The Dust 7".

Jeff Jotz

Imagine if I didn't spend my formative years - and those paychecks - at those establishments (Bleeker Bob's and Second Coming, in particular). I would have had money for a nicer house and my son's college fund.

Legitimate Golf

I miss the Tower and the USQ Virgin store. To think there were actually times where, bored, I'd just head on over to one of these places and just fucking browse. That seems like a lifetime ago. Man, I've said it a hundred times before but music was so much better when there was a whole process to acquiring it. I came up just at the tail end of the CD era but I'm grateful to have been a part of it. The advent of digital downloading has pretty much lobotomized our collective music mind. Some of my best times in college were born out of trips to used CD shops--back in the 90s you could find *all* sorts of good stuff, new and old in those racks.

Fallopia Tuba

Fuck, I miss them all…I'm old.

Supposedly, Bleecker Bob's is looking to come back on the Lower East Side; I hope that's true. (Chris, the general manager, told me that.)

Psychatrone Rhonedakk

Gawd! It's sick to see all the great places that are gone. Is Kim's still stocking Lps and CDs??

This makes me so sad....


There was a record store in Brooklyn in the late sixties/early seventies called "Jamie's" (I am not sure I am spelling it right). It was on Flatbush Avenue near ERasmus Hall High School. Theire policy was any two records for $5.95. It was insane. I bought tons of records there, including "An Evening With Wild Man Fischer".

Greg Kline

Revolver Records and It's Only Rock & Roll, both on 8th St. Records Revisited, Infinite, Farfels, Record Runner, House Of Oldies, Golden Disc, Generations, and the place Broadway Al opened when he split from Bleecker Bobs. All in the village in Manhattan.

Marcelo Romero

Marcelo Romero: In 6th grade at St. Ignatius. After school Henry Behn and I would go to MUSICAL MAZE RECORDS on 3rd ave and 85th street to buy such bootlegs as Aerosmith LOOK HOMEWARD ANGEL!
Beatles 4 NIGHTS IN A JUDO ARENA. Also Bryan Gregory of The Cramps worked the counter! Pinball machines in the back.

Alex in NYC

Indeed, I discussed that here:


I loved Free Being Records, one of my 2 favorite record hangouts when I was an art student at The Cooper Union. I bought too many used and demo records to mention there, all dirt cheap (2 bucks)and in what you would today call NM condition.

You did not mention my other favorite, "Discophile" on West 8th, next to Stereo Exchange (SE is now on Bway north of Houston).

There was a 3rd store that sold vintage LPs and survived well into the late 90s/early-to-mid-00s, on East 10th or 11th or 12th, I cannot recall the name.

James reeno

There was a store in my neighborhood called "SOUL DEN". It was on 85st and Columbus avenue from about 1974-1984.
It was a store specializing in soul, funk, disco, early hip hop. And they also sold incense.
If you can find any pictures of it, hit me up at [email protected]

Thanks. (great work on finding these photos of all these other great stores)

Byrne Power

Great article. Lots of nostalgia. I used to work at J & R Music World in the first 4 years of the 80s (I brought in loads of foreign LPs)and Rocks In Your Head from 91 to 96. (I'm the one responsible for all the old vinyl on the ceiling and the funky hand painted labels.) It was definitely another era. I think the 80s and 90s in New York will prove to be a time for much more further study.

Soho Music gallery! Yes! I picked up the first Diamanda Galas 12 inch single on Y Records and also I found two tremendously obscure Aldous Huxley speeches from the late 50s in New Mexico that somehow they had a box lots of.


J&R was the place to go for vinyl in the late 70's through the 90's. I remember waiting for the shipment coming in from Japan with Riverside Jazz LP's. The lines were around the corner. We also had one of the best import rock selections in the city. I can still remember an import coming in on Stiff Records through Jem, the distributor. This funny looking guy with big glasses soon became the rage in NYC. We played his record over and over again during lunch and customers ran to the bins to buy Elvis Costello, My Aim is True. If you wanted to hear and buy the hip tunes, J&R was THE place to go.


My brother-in-law, Bill Shor, owned Venus Records that was in St. Marks Place.

steve herold

loved reading this and being reminded of all the shops i used to visit. Can still remember walking into Tower on 4th & Bway back in 1985 for first time. Was like nothing I’d ever seen before. I miss it so much. Then discovering Second Coming where I’d get all my Van Halen promos, imports and bootlegs. Revolver was another one I’m glad someone mentioned in the comments. Rebel Rebel. Academy on 18th(?) Years later of course there was Other Music (a great doc just came out about that place.) Miss them all. Thanks for sharing these memories.

Mark Schwind

I worked at both Tower locations, 1989 to 1990. I am still friends with the people I worked with. Two of them ended up getting married. I lived in Bay Ridge (next door to John Travolta S.N.F. house) and bought c.d.s at a store in Bay Ridge/Bensonhurst but I don't remember the name of it. Working at Tower in NY was incredible! What a fun, wild experience.

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