Let’s face it, we all have a “go to” place in our hometowns where you can meet up with your friends and collaborate on things, catch up on each other’s lives or see creative types performing on stages in cafes, pubs etc. Well, back in the day, when you walked down West 48th Street between 6th and 7th avenue known as “Music Row,” which was “the ultimate musician’s destination,” you had cool independent music stores to hang out in like “Rod Baltimore”, “Sam Ash” and many others. One such store that was a beacon of light to a lot of musicians in various stages of their careers, was “Manny’s Music”, a small instrument shop that opened in 1935 and sold a variety of instruments but mostly guitars. What made it stand out was a few factors, one, it was family owned and run by the family, next, it was a place of dreams! When you walked around and saw all the walls lined with so many autographs of famous musicians who had stopped by, you kind of wished that the walls could talk and tell you all the secrets they held. How could you not be inspired by all of it? Plus, you never knew who you would run in to at the store! Cool factor in my book! In 1969, It moved from its original location to a new location at 156 West 48th Street.
In 1999, the store and the building were sold to Sam Ash, who, in turn, maintained Manny's as a subsidiary and retained its staff and family managers until 2009 when the store was finally closed for good. It had a great run, but all is not lost, even though the physical store is no longer around, there are a few remnants left of it’s history…The Virtual Wall of Fame that has the photos, cool stories from customers and other memories of the store: http://mannysmusic.ning.com/. Check it out!
Lucky for all us music nerds and Joe Bonamassa, there is another cool historical connection happening with this iconic store! Joe wanted the Manny’s Music sign! Venturing into this as a guitar safari, the process wasn’t that easy but with a lot of phone calls, negotiating, pleading, some blood, sweat and a few bumps here and there, the sign was saved right before the building was scheduled to be demolished. Mind you, this is a three-story sign named Manny’s it also has a large clock attached. Most of us at J&R Adventures pondered and possibly made a few bets as to where it was finally going to rest – Nerdville East or Nerdville West? Hmm, well after it has sat in a non-disclosed place, for a while, it will finally be reconstructed in all its glory and proudly be displayed at the Song Bird Museum in Chattanooga, Tennessee. It will be displayed there for a while until Joe decides where it’s going next. In the meantime, stay tuned because Joe will be giving you updates on the journey of this sign! Another gem we found. Below is a video of a Final Visit to Manny's Music on 48th Street, New York City! Enjoy!
- Michelle S.