In 2009, the traditional practice of exchanging physical copies of records for money is a trade that might best be called quixotic. But New Yorkers are stubborn people, and the record store is not dead. Below, the top ten records that sold in the last week at a store near you.
When you walk inside Bleecker Bob’s, there’s a dusty, brown, fraying rug visible off to your right. It looks ratty, but it’s the same carpet that once covered the stage of the Night Owl, a former West Village nightclub and home to early performances by Dylan and Hendrix. Bleecker Bob’s has occupied the former Night Owl space since 1984, and has been a cornerstone of the New York punk scene for far longer. “I remember taking the train from Penn Station. We’d buy our records and go to CB’s,” says longtime customer Matt Lutz, 37.
Originally opened by Bob Plotnick on MacDougal Street in the early sixties, Bleecker Bob’s was one of the first retailers to import punk 45s from England. Johnny Thunders used to come in with New York Dolls vinyl and autograph the discs for a few extra dollars “so he could go out and score more junk,” says Javier, a current employee. And Lou Reed used to “send his maid by to pick up records.” Javier says the store can afford to stay open because of its rare record collection, which today includes a hard-to-find Beatles Israeli pressing of Help! for $200. “We try to keep the store filled with as many rare items as we can,” he says. “That’s the only way we are surviving.” Adds customer Matt Lutz, “This is the last thing in Manhattan that reminds me of old Manhattan.”
The Top 10 Records Sold at Bleecker Bob’s on West 3rd for the week ending October 2nd: