Downtown’s now-defunct indie record stores

Everyone mourns the passing of an independent bookstore. But fewer tears seem to be shed for the rapid demise of many of New York’s indie record stores—tiny nooks that often had as much coolness cred as the music they sold.

Some are still around—but not these long-gone haunts in Chelsea, the East Village, and the West Village.

In July 1982, 110 St. Marks Place was the location of Saint Mark’s Music Exchange. Today it’s Paprika, an Italian restaurant.

According to a 1991 New York Times rundown of record stores, Vinylmania had three stores. “They say vinyl’s on the way out, but not here,” the article quotes the store owner.

Opened in 1978, the store closed in 2007.

The same New York Times piece says Midnight Records “combines collectors’ items from the 1950s to the present with newer releases from bands like Dimentia 13; it also has magazines like Psychotronic and Bucketfull of Brains.”

Looks like they closed up the store in the 2004, according to this list. Cool Runnin is in the closed category as well, though it doesn’t give the year of its demise. They were in the Reggae music business since 1984.

All ads come from early to mid-1980s issues of the monthly East Village Eye.

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12 Responses to “Downtown’s now-defunct indie record stores”

  1. Joly MacFie Says:

    The RIAA deserves some responsibilty see

  2. wildnewyork Says:

    Yeah, technology drives change. But it’s always nice to find a little record store or book store and browse (and buy) for hours and hours….

  3. Alex Baugh Says:

    I bought a lot of music at St. Mark’s Music Exchange. I was sorry to see it go, especially for yet another restaurant.

  4. The Day | Is Aziz Ansari The Mayor of the East Village? - The Local East Village Blog - Says:

    […] Ephemeral New York mourns some bygone record shops, including the Saint Mark’s Music Exchange, but it’s not all doom and gloom on St. Marks. EV Grieve notices that the space that briefly housed the CBGB store now hosts a tattoo and tobacco accessories shop. Speaking of CBGB, Bowery Boogie reports that John Varvatos and Jesse Malin of Niagara are teaming up to host a Sirius XM show, “New York Nights…Direct from the Bowery.” […]

  5. Alex Says:

    I had been to all of these stores. Midnight Records was my favorite, it exists online only now.

  6. Upstate Ellen Says:

    Sad. I used to buy so many records at these and other stores… it was one of my favorite things to do in the Village!

  7. East Villager Says:

    On the other hand, vinyl sales keep increasing…by 40%-40% this year alone. The 2 blocks of East 5th Street here have at least 3 vinyl record stores: Good Music, Gimme Gimme Records, Tropicalia in Furs. Other Music around the corner on 4th Street. Norman’s on Cooper Square with a basement full of vinyl. Rocket Scientist on St Mark’s with lots of vinyl….etc….

  8. Alex in NYC Says:

    Here’s a list I composed in 2007 of same…

  9. wildnewyork Says:

    There’s some good ones on here Alex. I miss Rocks in Your Head. One store I really liked for the two seconds it was open in the 2000s was Future Legend on Ninth Avenue in Hell’s Kitchen. Apparently the owners were big Bowie fans as I was in high school.

  10. Alex in NYC Says:

    Oh I remember Future Legend alright:

  11. wildnewyork Says:

    “Fleas the size of rats sucked on rats the size of cats…”

    Great post. I really miss Future Legend. Oh well, they gave it a good try.

    I think I’ll see if the alternate version of Candidate is online somewhere.

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