By Kevin McGovern
Throughout its 40-plus years in business, Bleecker Bob’s has seen the likes of Bob Dylan, Billy Idol, and Joey Ramone thumb through the racks of records along the dimly lit walls of the store. Bleecker Bob’s, officially Bleecker Bob’s Golden Oldies, can even claim the legendary Jimmy Page of Led Zeppelin and Frank Zappa tended to the store and were close friends with owner Bob Plotnick. Yet, not even these legendary rock ‘n’ roll figures can seemly drag Bleecker Bob’s out of its personal financial crisis and looming closure.
“It’s the changing landscape. It’s sad, but it happens. It’s adapt or die,” said store clerk Ski. “New York is becoming more expensive… we just don’t need this space. It’s too big for a record store.”
With the landlord demanding a raise in rent in the near future, Bleecker Bob’s simply cannot afford its famous space in Greenwich Village. Though Bleecker Bob’s once found glory and booming business during the Punk era, it has now fallen on hard times after Plotnick suffered a stroke in 2001.
While Bleecker Bob’s still maintains a loyal base of customers, fans, and “days of the week guys”, and there have been numerous campaigns to raise money in order to keep the store in its current location, it simply is not enough. “We’re going,” said Ski somberly.
Yet, it’s the spirit of Bleecker Bob’s that will live on. It’s people like Ski, whose love for the store and willingness to work “not cause he’s getting rich, but because he enjoys music”, is what defines the landmark store. And though the store will close by June in order to make room for a new frozen yogurt store, according to their Facebook page, Bleecker Bob’s may rent a small counter in the new store to display some of its prized records. But to people like Ski and loyal customers, it won’t be the same. “I’ll miss everything,” Ski said. “The flavor, the ambiance. We’re trying to do a service here.”