I'm glad to see that Footlight is still operating on the web. The website shut for few months ca. 2008-9, after the bricks and mortar store closed in 2005.
Colony was once less weird and surly, but the records were always overpriced in my experience and I first checked them out as an NYU student ca. 1980.
I think they thrived largely because of their proximity to the theater, film and TV world in New York. In the mid-1990s, before the internet really got going and before Virgin Records opened in Times Square, a friend who edited commercials for a company in that neighborhood told me that Colony was their first stop when they needed music. Convenience was much more important than price for them.
Colony always seemed to have a deep stock of original cast CDs, and tourists from overseas were used to paying more for CDs anyway. They also got over by being a store of last resort. When you price records as high as they did, you're likely to be the last one in town with a copy, although it might be beat to hell from all the time it spent in your bin.
Rockit Scientist on St. Mark's Place, which closed earlier this year, was a much greater loss. A lot of the best shopping for used vinyl is now at the record shows in Manhattan and Brooklyn.
Partners & Crime, a wonderful bookstore in Greenwich Village specializing in mysteries and who hosted live dramatizations of classic radio detective shows, closes this Thursday. l've been in there a couple of times recently, and people there said that the store has been a break-even proposition for all of its 18 year history, but now they lose money consistently. The landlord likes them and wants them to stay, but they say they would have trouble covering costs even if the rent were only a thousand a month, and this has been the case for other independent and specialty bookstores in New York. Its probably the same for record stores.
Library of Congress
From: Association for Recorded Sound Discussion List [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Michael Biel
Sent: Monday, September 17, 2012 8:54 PM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] Photos of The Colony NYC
From: Tom Fine <[log in to unmask]>
> Yes, one can see how they go out of business. Now that I see the
> photos, I was there once and walked out laughing at the ridicu-prices.
LAUGHING!! Yes, that has always been our reaction. The first time we took Leah to NYC in her junior year in high school, I took here there and we laughed and laughed and laughed. They still had some of the LPs upstairs, and even then she knew prices and recognized things in my collection. And now that she lives there she went in every once in a while when she needed a good pick-me-up and a giggle. Looking at all of the fading memorabilia was sad that they were destroying it in their ignorance, but listening to the abusive staff made it all worthwhile -- they DESERVED it!
She'll go back in a day or two to photograph closed signs and laugh over the carcass. When Footlights closed a few years ago we all mourned them
-- as well as getting GREAT bargains. They went on-line. I wonder what the Colony will do with its stock.
From: "Jim Sam" <[log in to unmask]>
>> The reviews are interesting.
That they are!!! Such as: "The thing I HATE WITH ALL OF MY SOUL about this store is that the guys who are hired to help you find music obviously sign agreements in blood stating that they will be as
unhelpful, rude, and curt to you as possible." When Leah wanted a
price on Saturday, she waited to find the friendliest looking guy but he sent her to another guy who when asking a third guy she overheard "Who is asking?" You NEVER are supposed to be so BLATANT that you are basing your prices on who the customer is.
I also love the long one with the dialog between the customer in the basement and the weirdo -- which turned out to be the owner. These comments fit this place to a T.
Mike Biel [log in to unmask]
> They didn't even have any must-have-at-any-price items, at least
not for me. There are still several excellent used vinyl stores in the Village, and why would anyone buy a new (or used) CD at any retail outlet when there is Amazon "new and used" and almost anything can be had for $5 or less, usually shrink-wrapped? As for used vinyl, I usually look but don't buy in Manhattan. In its favor, culturally, NYC is a place where people tend to love their music. So what ends up in these stores is mostly too-well-loved for me to crack open the wallet. That said, what I have found in superb condition in NYC are more-obscure spoken-word records, and "status"
stuff like the Reader's Digest/RCA/Decca sets and the Time-Life jazz sets. What also pops up from time to time are still-wrapped records from the 70's and early 80's that have tricked down from the bankruptcies of larger stores and chains. Usually these records are stamped with dollar price tags (which is NOT the current price) and have a hole punched or a corner cut off, literally cut-outs.
The best score I ever had in that regard was a bunch of still-wrapped Mercury Golden Imports and Decca Jubilees for $1 each. The guy said he had them for several years, got them as part of a larger buy of bankruptcy detritis, and was happy to see the floor space cleared up. For a buck a sealed record, I'll buy anything that's within my taste parameters, that's as cheap as a single song download.
-- Tom Fine