Oh The Times Square They are a Changing

Diane and I are in New York for our vacation. Actually, I came to participate in the FSTA football draft, which is great as it means seeing so many friends from the fantasy sports world. The draft was part of the annual summer convention put on by the organization and since we both love visiting our most vibrant city so much, the convention was an easy excuse to plan an hiatus around.

One of the things I always do when I am in the Big Apple is stop by Rudy’s Music, on W. 48th street. Aside from just loving to look at guitars, Rudy’s always has, or had, a bunch of beautiful vintage axes that are more than wonderful to gawk at.

Over the years, I have purchased stuff there, too. Before boutique pedals were as readily available as they are today, I got my “King of the Brits” pedal and also my Fulltone “Choral Flange” at Rudy’s who always had easy access to such stuff when all Guitar Center would carry was BOSS (not knocking that company, in fact I use their digital tuners for all my setups).

Even more, I fell in love with Hofner basses at Rudy’s, playing one there, and then knowing that was my next purchase (Diane actually bought one for me as a present some years back and I do indeed love it to pieces).

So, this trip, first day of stumbling around mid-town, we met my cousin Richard at Virgil’s for lunch (another serious ritual, and if you like wings, Virgil’s has the best ones on the planet) and were walking around just soaking the city in when I suggested walking over to Rudy’s. Last year, I got a leather necklace there with a little carved guitar, and somewhere the guitar got lost, so I wanted to get a new one.

Much to my shock and dismay, Rudy’s was gone, and all that remained was an empty storefront. There is still the Rudy’s in Soho, functioning away, but no more mid-t0wn. So, at least to get in a guitar fix, I walked up the street to Manny’s, a music store possibly more famous than Rudy’s as that is where the Ramones hung and bought their gear, for example.

But Manny’s too was gone, again leaving an empty storefront in its wake.

I talked to a couple of people and asked what happened, and, well, the Times Square area is indeed undergoing a major renovation, and property is being snatched up, and Rudy’s and Manny’s were part of the toll of progress.

I understand this: the past will inevitably fall behind and become quaint (although nostalgia does often foster a comeback from falling out of favor) and outdated and dismissed in lieu of the next big relative thing. And, of course, profit will always sneak into the equation as well.

Anyway, for some reason, as I mused the loss of Manny’s and Rudy’s, I kept coming to this 1965 hit by the Trade Winds, New York’s a Lonely Town which essentially has nothing to do with any of this save the NYC locale, and perhaps the thoughts of things lost.

So, here it is. The song is kind of hoaky, but in a perfect 60’s way, I think.

4 thoughts on “Oh The Times Square They are a Changing

  1. Always liked this tune. Hoaky but heartfelt, or seems like it, which is all that matters. I remember 48th St well, we once browsed there together Lawr. Got my first good guitar there at a place called We Buy Guitars, a semi-hollow sunburst Rickenbacker in 1975.

    • Hey, I was with you guys when you browsed, but you spoke a language I didn’t know. One lacking in verbs, I think.

      I’m a fan of NY’s a Lonely Town, too. Though these days the surfing action off the Rockaways is pretty much constant. Surfboards and golf bags seem to be equally out of place and common.

  2. Used to make a pilgrimage to 48th Street to drool over the fretless Alembics in the Windows and then over to Colony Records, also now closed.

  3. King Karol on 42nd St was a great record store. The guys there hipped us to many albums. They would look at what we bought and say “You would like Roxy Music” or the Pink Fairies, or speaking of pink this one, which when I was 14 I thought was just the baddest ass shit around. I think these guys were from Detroit in the wake of the Stooges & MC5. This was a minor hit as I recall.

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