By: Mackenzie Cash
From the moment you walk through the door of Bleecker Bob’s, you’re instantly transported back 30 years. The worn hardwood floors, the clocks lining the walls, and the bins upon bins of old vinyl records color the atmosphere of the west village’s beloved record shop. “The flavor, the ambiance, the independence…It’s a service,” the store’s gruff, music-loving assistant manager, Ski, says of the shop. He may not make a ton of money working there, but he’s content to stay until they can no longer afford rent, which is fast approaching.
With New York’s ever-adapting lifestyle, Bleecker Bob’s hasn’t been able to keep up. “It’s the changing landscape. It’s sad, but it happens. It’s either adapt or die, and the store is too big.” Says Ski. Along with the store’s inability to adapt to a changing city, the rent is becoming too much for the sale of used CDs and records to cover. After all, “you can only sell a CD for so much.”
When Bob Plotnik, the store’s owner, suffered a stroke in 2001, the store became unable to keep up with the high rent demands from their landlord. “If Bob hadn’t gotten sick after he signed a new lease, we wouldn’t be in this position. We didn’t even know if he’d live.”
Even with the almost unavoidable closing of the store, its loyal customers, fans, and employees are showing their support. There have been several attempts at creating kickstarter campaigns to keep the store in business, but Ski says there’s really nothing left for anyone to do. “We’re going,” Ski says solemnly. He isn’t hesitant to say that he’s going to miss the old store. “I ain’t working here to get rich. I just like music.” But Bleecker Bob’s 45-year run will come to an end this May as it moves to make room for a frozen yogurt store.
Even though the time for Bleecker Bob’s has come to an end, it will forever be immortalized in New York history thanks to Seinfeld, the Beastie Boys, and everyone who has memories of Bob Plotnik and his cozy record shop.