48th Street between 6th and 7th Avenues was once a destination for musicians of all genres to descend upon to find instruments, get repairs and otherwise mingle together. The block has been all but cleared out in recent years with two shops left standing, one of which closed up on Friday.
Rudy’s Music Stop, a four-story store featuring guitars and basses (advertised in the front window in bright, red neon lighting) among other instruments officially closed on July 31 to make way for rumored condos and higher-paying tenants. The other remaining store, Alex Musical Instruments is scheduled to close down in a few months, according to owner Alex Carozza. According to the Post:
Carozza’s landlord would have let him stay if he agreed to a rent increase from $4,000 to $12,000 a month. No thanks, says the shopkeep. By the end of the year, Music Row will officially be dead.
While it’s very commendable the landlord offered to let Alex stay open for three times his current rent, he’s packing up leaving Music Row free of any actual music shops.
According to the NY Post, before other stores, including Sam Ash, packed up to leave the area or close altogether, owners tried to get the block marked as a historical district even hoping to have guitars erected at the entrance to the block, like the Diamond District has just a few blocks over, along with a walk of fame for famous musicians who shopped there. None of the ideas ever came to fruition and now shops are empty (rumored to be awaiting demolition for high-rises) or have been replaced by new tenants willing to pay the higher rent.
In the area’s heyday, The Beatles, Bob Dylan, Jimi Hendrix, and the Rolling Stones were all patrons on the block, according to the Times Square Alliance. Forgotten New York has a really great post with photos, both before and after.
Farewell, Music Row.