NYC’s historic Music Row, the strip of instrument stores, repair shops, and sheet music stores on a block of Manhattan’s West 48th St, is officially dead, as the New York Post reports. It’s been disappearing for years as rising rent costs and changing shopping habits drive out old businesses — a number of Sam Ash stores on the street closed after 50 years in 2012 to make way for condos, and in 2013, New York Woodwind And Brass Shop closed. It is now a Dunkin’ Donuts.
The once-thriving block used to serve as a one-stop music gear shop for stars like Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton, the Rolling Stones, and the Beatles. “Everyone bought their instruments on 48th. There was no other way,” says Rudy Pensa, the proprietor of Rudy’s Music Stop guitar and repair shop, which opened in 1978 and just closed on Friday.
Pensa, who still operates a location in Soho, wanted to keep the store open, but his rent had been too high for about five years already. “I look at the numbers, I should have left before,” he tells the Post. “But I always had the romanticism, and the idea that it will come back.”
The last remaining Music Row store, Alex Musical Instruments, is closing in a few months, as the rent is increasing from $4000 to $12,000 a month. When asked if he’s sad to see Music Row go, owner Alex Carozza says, “No. The time comes for everything.”