25 April 2014

A Perfect Storefront: Astoria Music

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.


Unknown said...

Well believe it!!
It was once indeed a place that had a inhouse recording studio there is an article about it online and I know it has been written about in several books.
i will post some links when i find them

Anonymous said...

Interesting history..but that place is always blasting Rush Limbaugh from their storefront!

Weeds said...

Great place for instruments and service. Repairs are proffessional and the owner George is "HONEST". What a refreshing concept in today's world. The school is very reputable with great teachers and staff. I highly recommend this small local store with an excellent reputation to one and all. I believe information on its history is posted in the Astoria Archival Society.
By the way, I love Rush Limbaugh