Bleecker Bob’s Bleak End?

by Canyun Zhang

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When entering Bleecker Bob’s Record Shop in Greenwich Village, one immediately feels as if they stepped into another era, one of a grungier, punk music-filled past decade. Posters, predominantly those of rock and punk, are plastered all over. Vinyls of every imaginable genre and mood deck out the shelves, carts, and walls, as band t-shirts hang from the ceiling. “It’s kind of in a time warp,” explains Ski, the assistant manager of Bleecker Bob’s. Ski, clad in a black Social Distortion tee, is a middle aged man with facial hair, a mini Mohawk and tough looking eyes. He works at Bleecker Bob’s three days a week and has an intense passion for music. “I got 2,500 records in an apartment somehow, so that’s getting kind of crazy,” says Ski.

Unfortunately, this historic record shop will be going out of business; it is not a question of will it or will not, but when. Bob, the owner of the store, had a stroke in 2001, which lead them to the shop’s financial situation now. Bob was cautious to expand and invest on the shop when he didn’t know if he had much time left. Now, there are still regulars, like “Monday night R&B guy” and “Wednesday afternoon disco guy”, who come and support the place. Vinyl is making a comeback as well. However, this is not enough for the modern day plight of many small businesses who struggle to stay put despite the growing rent of New York or the claws of large corporations. The closing of this local landmark store represents the changing gentrification, landscape and rent and the “adapt or die” mentality of today’s businesses.   Loyal customers, upon hearing the news, were upset and many want to help out. Yet, Ski looks at this imminent closure with optimism – “without a finite date of when we’re closing, we’re going.”

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