No Longer Empty at 4th and Broadway – Part 2

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When I went past “Never Can Say Goodbye” later on Friday night just before 8 there was a line outside, and half a block down a crowd had formed at the door with people spilling out onto Broadway – looked like a good night was ahead. It was heartwarming to see such a familiar experience and it made me realize what a social scene and life force the Tower Records store had been.

Line outside Never Can Say Goodbye last Friday night
Line outside Never Can Say Goodbye last Friday night

Prior to the internet, the place to see recording artists and find out about new bands was at Tower – everyone had an opinion on what was good, better and “the best.”  And it was in real-time, not in the abstract time of the internet. Most of the kids in the line had never been to Tower  in its heyday and I would be curious to find out what brought them out on a winter Friday night to stand in the dark.

Crowd coming out the doors
Crowd coming out the doors

You can see young people in lines going to hear music at clubs on almost any night. Standing in the cold to get inside to push up against each other and the music, usually dancing or drinking their day’s cares away. Because of the internet, bands can have a huge following drawing people from miles away. But at Tower, there were lots of bands and styles of music from classical to pop to “World” and beyond. And you had to be there with your ears open to catch “the best.”

Poster parody painting
Poster parody painting

In talking to artist Ryan Brennan earlier he said he had never been to Tower records – so too the majority of the people in the show I would guess.  So is the nostalgia mine?   Are they on an historical lookback? And will any of the people in line find a new social gathering?  It would be interesting to follow-up in a few weeks to find out. But on Friday, it felt like somebody was channeling the ghost of Tower past.

NO LONGER EMPTY:
” Never Can Say Goodbye ”  Jan 15th – Feb. 13 @ Former Tower Records Store
692 Broadway @ East 4th Street Hours Wed-Sunday, noon-7 pm

Tags

never can say goodbye, new york, no longer empty, tower records

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