23 August 2012

Colony Music, Vestige of Bygone Times Square and Bygone Music World, to Close

Colony Music, one of the few remaining iconic Times Square independent businesses left, will close its doors on Oct. 1, it was reported. Business partner Richard Turk told Playbill.com the shuttering was due to "increased expenses, decreased sales," and the surfeit of online sellers of sheet music and recordings.

Colony has been in business since 1948, and was a vibrant reminder of a time when the Theatre District had not just theatre, but was also full of music venues featuring jazz and cabaret, and other businesses connected to the music industry. It's very location is a bit of music history: it occupies a corner of the fabled Brill Building at 49th Street and Broadway, where songwriters used to plug away at pianos, trying to hatch songs that might become the next hit record for the singing stars of the 1940s, '50s, '60s and '70s.

For years, Colony was recognized by passersby for its iconic neon sign of a mini-skirted girl on tip-toe, holding an outsized album aloft in ecstatic, vaguely erotic delight. The sign was removed a few years ago at the landlord's behest.

To a certain extent, Colony's fate has been sealed for some time. The store was born in a time when people went to actual physical stores to buy record albums and 45s and sheet music. That sort of music shopping has been dead for years. Still, it was beloved by music purists, and denizens of the theatre.


dmarks said...

I'm sad to say that I've forgotten if my old downtown bookstore is there or not. I think it is gone. I stopped checking a long time ago.

Not sure I mentioned this, but I found this blog of yours from searching after I started to consider renaming my blog as "The Lost City". I still like the name, though of course it is used here. I figured I'd check to see if this is no problem with you, or you think it would be awful if someone else choose such a Blogspot name knowing you had yours.

Also, you might like this old post of mine. It is similar to many that you have.


Brooks of Sheffield said...

Are you located in New York, or elsewhere?

dmarks said...

and I meant RECORDSTORE in my first comment.

Ken Mac said...

The last time I interview drumming great Paul Motian he had just come from Colony, where he had purchased The Songbook of Jimmy Van Heusen,who wrote Come Fly With Me, among other American standards. One by one, all of NY standards are biting the dust.

Mae West NYC said...

Darn shame about Colony Music. A great sheet music emporium near Astor Place shuttered a few years back, alas.

Just Sayin said...

The name Colony used to be so common in and around the city. This one was different from the others. The name often was associated with mom & pop stationary/greeting card stores.