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This has always been a music town, from live venues to ‘record shops,’ as they were called. Few are still around, and fewer still that are nothing but. However one proudly displays a sign in the window that asserts boldly: “No CD’s, No Tapes, Only Records“. That’s Greenwich Village’s own House of Oldies at 35 Carmine Street, our December Business of the Month.
Since 1968, Bob Abramson has owned the store — first on Bleecker Street, and since 1980 on a cozy part of Carmine Street a few doors down from Our Lady of Pompeii Church. Bob cherishes the diversity of people who come to Greenwich Village, not only from the U.S. but from all over the world. He says that the Village is “still very quaint, interesting looking and the buildings are very artistic.”
He sells only records, 45s, LPs and yet still has outlasted famed Bleecker Bob’s, Tower Records, and many, many more. As Bob points out, “Many big fancy stores have pushed out the little guy due to high rents.“
The times have fortunately caught up with House of Oldies. While tapes and CDs were de rigueur for many years, music aficionados never let go of the classic vinyl recording. And neither did Bob Abramson.
While the shop has some 250,000 records to choose from, the dynamics of the ongoing pandemic have led to the sensible closure of the shop for visits. Pouring through the crates and boxes on the hunt for something particular or a surprise gem is the main lure of visiting such a shop.
But they have over 5,000 vinyl records from their even huger inventory on Discogs with amazing prices. You can see some of their online items here. You can email your want lists to firstname.lastname@example.org and they will ship anywhere in the USA. The House of Oldies has records at all prices, from $10-$15 and up. Bob says “We seem to be selling a lot of 70’s punk rock and heavy metal. But of course the greats like Dylan and Beatles are always big sellers.“
We do look forward to being able to go inside again in the future, even though it is one of the tightest shops in all of NYC. That is because of the abundance of racks and records on each side of the narrow shop, just the way you would imagine an old Greenwich Village record shop to be.
The classic rock and rollers are all represented, with Jimi Hendrix and local great Bob Dylan a best seller, even after all those years since he lived here. (Check out Village Preservation’s Bob Dylan Map here.)
While many of Bob’s customers have aged with him over the years, an influx of younger shoppers has helped House of Oldies continue to thrive. They come for the high quality of the sound and for the cache of a classic vinyl. Bob carries many first pressed versions of albums (a record that was pressed from the 1st original masters and carries a distinctive higher quality of sound, for those in the know). Jimmy Page of Led Zeppelin was known to shop there for such first pressings, leaning towards 1950’s rock and rockabilly that inspired him as a musician growing up.
Now more than ever we need to show our support for small, local, independent businesses. House of Oldies has survived and thrived for over 50 years thanks to the dedication and passion of owner Bob Abramson, and to the support of local residents and visitors from all over the world, famous and unknown. With your support, they can carry on for years to come.
When asked to what he attributes his success, Bob said, “We created an atmosphere where people felt comfortable to just come in and chat about music, artists and life. It was a great “meeting place”. Not to mention our amazing inventory and quality of records.”
And it will be an in-person place again. Such history and connection is why they are our December Business of the Month. So visit them today, via their online catalog here — you may just find that perfect one-of-a-kind holiday gift, for yourself or a loved one, that will never be replaced and never be forgotten.
What special small business would you like to see featured next? Just click here to nominate our next one. Thank you! #shoplocalnyc
And here is a handy map of all of our Businesses of the Month: