A WQXR report on the closure of NYC’s last classical record outlet has brought out the white handkerchiefs for many loyal customers, among them conductor David Bernard:
A trip to NYC for me as a classical music obsessed music-geek child consisted of browsing scores at Patelsons and LPs at J&R Classical Record Store (it was called the J&R Classical Outlet back then). J&R was staffed with knowledgeable sales people (you know, people who could actually discuss the pros and cons of various releases of a Beethoven Symphony) and I would come home with a pile of LPs and scores, but more importantly the experience and knowledge that comes from browsing a full stock of classical items.
Back then, in the pre-Tower Records/HMV days, we would scoff at the meager stock of the typical record stores, and even Barnes and Noble & Sam Goody, which were more like “The Classical Music Bin” rather than the encyclopedic stock of the J&R Classical Outlet.
After a long hiatus, I stopped by the Classical section of J&R a few years ago and observed that the stock was a fraction of what it was, and you could see that it was on a downward spiral.
So now J&R is following Patelsons, Tower and HMV into oblivion. I guess we could all see it coming, but I can’t help feeling a bit sad about this.