Saturday, November 24, 2007

"Record Mart Reopens In Times Square Subway Station"

from - by Bobby Cuza
Almost nine years after it was forced to close down, Record Mart – a Latin music mecca in the Times Square subway station – is rocking once again. NY1 Transit reporter Bobby Cuza filed the following report.

In its 40 years of existence, the old Record Mart gained a worldwide reputation as a mecca of Latin music. So when it closed down in 1999, it was mourned by customers, including some famous ones.

"It's kind of an institution, down in the Times Square subway here," said actor Matt Dillon. "I buy all my Latin CDs, jazz CDs here."

Now, almost a decade later, Record Mart has been reincarnated. Invited back into a new, even bigger space in the Times Square station, Record Mart reopened Thanksgiving Day after months of work on the new store and lots of questions from passerby who remembered the old Record Mart.

"Every day, people come in, and say 'When are you opening?' and 'I used to come here when I was a kid,' and 'My father used to come here.' We hear it all the time, so it's nice," said manager Lou Moskowitz. "It'll be nice to see the old customers, and plenty will come back."

Originally forced to close because of station renovations, Record Mart is now literally just steps away from the Times Square Shuttle train and will benefit not only from a newly redone station, but also from booming subway ridership. And while the store does still carry some vinyl, its shelves are now mostly stocked with DVDs, iPod accessories, and an array of electronic merchandise – an acknowledgment of the fact much has changed in the music business just in the past nine years.

"If you go into Virgin or any of the other record stores that are left, they all carry clothing. You have to diversify," said Moskowitz. "It's just… with the downloading, it's a different business. And it's still evolving. So we'll just try and change with the times."

Record Mart is still a work in progress. At the moment there are not yet any CDs for sale. That area of the store is still being worked on, but should be ready to go sometime within the next few weeks.

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