Among the ugly chains stores on 30th Avenue in Astoria is this charming shoebox of an enterprise, Astoria Music, where you can buy musical instruments, get instruments repaired and take music lessons. All in that tiny place. I love the display window, with its hanging guitars and drum sets.
How old is Astoria Music? Would you believe, 1922? And always in the same location. It was founded by the Greek Badgetakis family, all of whom were musicians. In the 1960’s a grandson, John Badget, took over, and in 1982 George Phillips, also a musician and also Greek, bought the business.
During the 30’s, 40’s and 50’s, the shop was also recording studio and record shop. If we are to believe the store's website, famous musicians who recorded or bought merchandise here included: "Tony Bennett, Jimmy Rushing, Louis Armstrong, Glenn Miller, Junior Mance, Milt Jackson, Lenny Tristano, Bix Beiderbecke, Dizzy Gillespie, Ben Webster, Buck Clayton, Cannonball Adderly, Woody Herman, Clarence Williams, Eva Taylor, Fats Waller, Billie Holiday, Mercer Ellington, Lena Horne, Ethel Merman, Illinois Jacquet, Charlie Mingus, Russell Jacquet, James P Johnson, Lester Young, Milt Hinton, Count Basie, Jimmy Heath, Nat Adderly, Benny Waters, Ella Fitzgerald, Phil Schaap, Roy Eldridge, Clark Terry, Percy Heath, John Coltrane."
Hard to believe. But I hope it's true.