Gearphoria Vol 4, No 1

18 GEARPHORIA SEP/OCT 2015 The rent is too damn high! Rudy’s Music closes, leaving the once vibrant NYC ‘Music Row’ a ghost town THERE WAS A time that if you wanted to drool over the richest as- sortment of new and vintage gear, and you happened to be in Manhattan, you would go to 48th Street between 6th and 7th Avenue. The strip was NYC’s ‘Music Row’ and was lined down both sides with anything and everything in the world of MI -- from retailers and repair houses to work- shops and studios. While the luster has been waning for a while, the final nail in the coffin of this historic block occurred in early August when Rudy’s Music closed its doors after 37 years. I found myself in New York last February and was sure to make time to stop by the venerable guitar shop... my first and only visit. After drooling over the ‘30s era Strombergs on dis- play I couldn’t help but feel the chill of the ghosts in the room: Hendrix, Lennon, Marley and scores of others. They’d all stood where I stood. In February, there were no visible signs of Rudy’s plans to close, but with the rent in the area skyrocket- ing and a larger, newer Rudy’s Music now located in Soho, it was inevi- table. It was no longer economical to stay. The same fate will befall Alex Accordions next door in the coming months, according to the NY Post. Standing just outside and peering down the block to where Manny’s Music stood, which closed in 2009 after a three-quarter century run, or Sam Ash, which pulled up stumps and moved to 34th Street in 2012, after 50 years on the row, it is natural to feel meloncholy about this latest piece of ‘vanishing’ New York. While it might be about not being able to come down to Times Square and buy a guitar to some, for me, a non-resident, it is about the history that is slowly being wiped from the city in the name of modern office square footage. I suppose it is just the price of prog- ress... or at least someone’s idea of progress. No matter how Music Row transforms, its legacy will remain in tact. I take comfort in that. G