One of my fondest memories as a kid was walking into my local record store—Numbers, Records and Tapes, in Jackson Heights, Queens—hard-earned allowance of sweaty dollar bills in one hand, and The Clash’s final LP, Cut the Crap in the other. It was the very first piece of music I bought and took a whole lot of swearing on my grandma’s grave (she was still alive, btw) to convince my mom the album was curse-word free. Under her watchful eye, I ran home and listened to all 38 minutes of it with glee. After the needle went silent, all I dreamt about that night was running back to the record store to buy more music.
Most of us remember places like these—musical havens where one could get lost in a sea of albums, sample different tunes, talk with knowledgeable people who were passionate about music, and get the scoop on new groups or gigs coming out of the woodworks. At some point every town and every neighborhood had a music store to call their own. For Greenpoint, it was and will be until September 30th, Permanent Records.
Since the inception of Napster (remember them?!) and the rise of digitally downloaded music, most music stores have gone the way of the steam train. Permanent Records, who opened its Franklin Street doors in 2007, was one of the few music stores which seemed to buck the negative trend.
“In 2003, when I told people I was opening a record store I think most thought I was kookoo nuts,” says owner, Marjorie Eisenberg. “At that time, many of the NY shops were closing or at least struggling to stay open. It’s just something I HAD to do and I’m glad I did. Selling records ended up being a viable business again, who knew??”
The main reason for the record store’s closing has nothing to do with being analog in a digital world, unfortunately it has to do with Real Estate. Like many businesses in Greenpoint, Permanent Records has fallen victim to an over-inflated, hyper-speculative, bullish market where astronomical rents and lost leases are
becoming the norm. Cool folks like Permanent Records, who found love in Greenpoint, are now priced out of the neighborhood that once welcomed them with open arms.
“Permanent Records will close the Franklin St. location not because we’re not doing well, but simply because we’ve lost our lease. None of you reading this will be shocked to hear that after months of looking for an affordable suitable store front, we’re now priced out of the neighborhood we helped to shape. It’s an all too common story in the NYC retail / small business landscape.”
As for the future of the record store, the owners had this to say: “We are not disappearing. We are merely reinventing ourselves. We will still be buying your record collections. We will still be selling you records. We still love talking about music with you. We THANK YOU for all your support over the last 11 years. More details to come on our exciting new home and new business model. We hope you decide to stay with us and see how we do.”
We wish you luck Permenant Records, where ever you land. Just make sure it’s not too far away, so we can all still pay a visit.