A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006.

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Entry from August 01, 2015
Music Row (West 48th Street)

New York City’s “Music Row” was a collection of music instrument stores and repair shops along Manhattan’s West 48th Street, between Sixth and Seventh Avenues. The stores began to be located there in the 1930s and 1940s. It’s uncertain when the term “Music Row” was first applied, but a story in Billboard magazine, “N. Y. Instrument Center Doomed,” published on August 19, 1967, mentioned the “Music Row” nickname.

In the 2000s, however, most Music Row stores closed or moved because of high rents. The New York (NY) Post published “NYC’s famous Music Row is about to be a ghost town” by Tim Donnelly on August 1, 2015.


Times Square Alliance
Music Row
Perhaps Times Square’s best kept secret is 48th street, or what locals fondly call “Music Row.” Along this street are retailers of specialty instruments, instrument repair shops, and sheet music stores. “Music Row” hosts New York City’s highest concentration of music instrument stores.

Since the early 1930s, “Music Row” has been a center for the musical community, playing host to repair shops and music stores, yes, but also to rehearsal spaces, studios, and musical venues. Among the most famous patrons of these establishments were The Beatles, Bob Dylan, Jimi Hendrix, and the Rolling Stones. Some of the most well known stores to have graced this historic district stores included Terminal Music, Stuyvesant Music, Silver & Horland, and Manny’s.

Google News Archive
19 August 1967, Billboard, pg. 1, col. 2:
N. Y. Instrument Center Doomed
By HANK FOX
Pg. 65, col. 2:
Meanwhile, more property is demolished. Reliable sources say that withint one year allthe propertywill be takenover. Without a unified and concerted effort to establish a new musical instrument center, New York’s music row will be relegated to neighborhood shops.
Pg. 65, col. 1:
‘THERE’LL ALWAYS BE A MUSIC ROW,” said Manny of Manny’s Music. Manny, one of the major instrument dealers in the nation, has had his shop on 48th Street for almost 40 years.

Google Books
PTM
Volume 74
1977
Pg. 16:
Amidst the hubbub of music row on 48th Street in New York City, workers like Phil give Nitka, co-owner of Terminal Music, an edge.

Google Books
Nooks and Crannies:
An Unusual Walking Tour Guide to New York City

By David Yeadon
New York, NY: Scribner
1979
Pg. 257:
Don’t buy before you’ve explored this mini music-row on 48th Street between Sixth and Seventh avenues. Here we have Alex, Manny’s, Sam Ash, We Buy Guitars Inc., and windows full of Martins, Guilds, Gibsons, Fenders, et al.

Google Books
Music Trades
Volume 130
1982
Pg. 34, col. 3:
Sam Ash Acquires New Store on 48th St.
Sam Ash Music Corporation has recently opened a second store on New York City’s “Music Row.” West 48th Street. Located two doors from the existing Ash store, it showcases keyboards, amps, sound reinforcement and recording equipment. Moving these lines to the new space will enable the firm to expand the drum, guitar, and wind instrument displays at at the old store, according to Jerry Ash, president.

New York (NY) Times
Swinging Briefcases by Day, Rock Guitars by Night
By NICK RAVO
Published: August 1, 1990
(...)
The intergenerational sweep of rock bands is particularly evident in the crowded noontime scene at Sam Ash, the music equipment store in Manhattan on Music Row, the strip of music stores on 48th street between Avenue of the Americas and Seventh Avenues.

Lost City
20 FEBRUARY 2009
Manny’s to Close in May; Entire Music Row of W. 48th Street Endangered
Manny’s Musical Instruments, a Midtown landmark since 1935, will close its doors forever at the end of May, and the remainder of the Music Row—as the block of W. 48th Street between Seventh and Sixth Avenues is affectionately known—may soon fall like a row of dominoes.

Music & Sound Retailer
Saying Farewell To NYC’s ‘Music Row’
Fred Gumm | September 12, 2012
The music industry, perhaps more than any other, has a history that is storied, colorful and worth preserving. So, when the folks in this industry mark the end of an era, it truly means something. On July 24, the New York Post reported on Sam Ash’s plans to shutter its multiple stores on New York City’s West 48th Street—the strip historically known as “Music Row”—and open an expansive, 30,000-square-foot superstore on West 34th Street, bringing together what had been, at the 48th Street location, a rather disjointed collection of storefronts on either side of the street. The Retailer spoke to Richard Ash, Sam Ash CEO, to get the details on the new location, as well as to reflect on Music Row’s glory days.

Sam Ash, founded in 1924, is an iconic name in music products, earning its designation as the U.S.’ largest family-owned chain of musical instrument stores.

Jeremiah’s Vanishing New York
TUESDAY, OCTOBER 15, 2013
Music Row
It’s been awhile since I took a walk on Music Row, that block of West 48th Street once known for its many shops full of instruments, sheet music, and men (mostly) who knew how to build and repair.

A year ago, the Post reported that, after 50 years here, and ever expanding, Sam Ash would be leaving the block and moving to 34th Street. This meant leaving several empty storefronts behind. Sam Ash held so much real estate here, including the more recently taken over Manny’s Music, their move effectively killed the block.

Forgotten New York
6/3/14
MUSIC ROW, West 48th Street
(...)
Though Manny’s had been on West 48th Street since 1935, the owners sold the business to Sam Ash, which concentrated their music empire on both sides of West 48th Street, occupying space in several buildings, as seen in this Google Street View shot from May 2009. Sam Ash, in turn, moved to 333 West 34th Street early in 2013, leaving several empty storefronts, most of which remain empty in mid-2014. Ash’ departure once again revealed the Manny’s store signage that I discovered on West 48th…

New York (NY) Post
NYC’s famous Music Row is about to be a ghost town
By Tim Donnelly August 1, 2015 | 11:56am
At age 11, Rudy Pensa sat at home in Argentina, flipping through music magazines and wishing he could shop at New York’s famous Music Row.

A guitar player, he saw it as a mecca: the block of 48th Street between Sixth and Seventh avenues that, since the 1930s, had been home to dozens of guitar sellers, studios and repair shops.
(...)
No one will ever have that dream again, though. High rents and changing shopping habits have whittled the block down to a shadow of its former self. Pensa closed shop on Friday.

The last Music Row store, Alex Musical Instruments, is closing in a few months, owner Alex Carozza tells The Post.

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityStreets • Saturday, August 01, 2015 • Permalink