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Classical 101

New York's "Music Row" Goes Silent When Last Tenant Leaves

Music Row occupied both sides of this block of W. 48th St., just off Times Square, beginning in the 1930s.
Jeremiah Moss
Music Row occupied both sides of this block of W. 48th St., just off Times Square, beginning in the 1930s.

Las Vegas has The Strip. Nashville is known as Music City. New York City has Music Row.

Or at least it did until last week, when the last music shop owner packed up and moved to another location. The lone business on the street is MSR Studios. Owner David Amlen spent much of his youth loitering on that block of W. 48th St., which was lined on both sides with music-related businesses. His studio, which he opened about 10 years ago, seems to be one of the go-to recording venues for, among other things, casts of Broadway shows.

In an article in today's New York Times, Patrick McGeehan wrote:

"Where once there were Manny’s and Rudy’s and New York Woodwind and Brass, Frank Wolf Drummers Supplies and We Buy Guitars, now there are demolition crews, “for rent” notices and a construction office for the glass tower going up around the corner."

While you might think the last retailer to cave to economic pressure would be a guitar store or drum shop, you would be wrong.  The final tenant? Alex Musical Instruments, owned and operated for 50 years by Alex Carozza, whose specialty is accordions.

Credit Alex Carozza
Alex Carozza, whose shop included an accordion museum.

Jeremiah Moss has, for many years, been chronicling what he calls "A city in the process of going extinct." His page, called Jeremiah's Vanishing New York, is a fascinating read about the cultural shift that occurs when small business disappear and developers begin razing and rebuilding. He writes specifically of Music Row here.

In a city so closely identified with music from so many cultures, one hopes that Mr. Carozza's new location on W. 54th St. will be the beginning of a new Music Row. One that, like Alex Carozza's shop on W. 48th, attracts another generation of musicians through the door.