MOONCURSER RECORDS (former) City Island

by Kevin Walsh

Apologies for the fuzzy photo — it was taken in 2002, during ForgottenTour #9 (we’re now up to #82) and originally scanned at a smaller size.

One of City Island’s former attractions, from 1991 to 2006, was Mooncurser Records, a bastion for obscure vinyl 33s, 45s and 78s. The store had a collection of over 100,000 albums and singles as well as over 30,000 piano rolls. The place worked as a museum of recording, with wall displays of movie posters, music memorabilia and musical instruments and antiques hanging from the rafters. Owner Roger Roberge could usually be found in his rocking chair seven days a week.

Roberge passed away in 2004 at age 86, and the store soldiered on for two more years. I hope all that vinyl found a good home.



Edward Fenning August 20, 2014 - 11:46 pm

I found out about Mooncurser Records from this very website’s page about the Forgotten Tour #9 of City Island.
Even though I live on Long Island, as a “record hound” I made it a point to get up there straightaway, as soon as I could. Took N. State > Cross Island > Throggs Neck bridge > continued north on 95 – which is the way my family has always gone when driving upstate to see my Dad’s family in Middletown (95 > Hutch > Cross County Pkwy > Thruway*). Except that now, I got off one exit before the Hutch. It was very interesting, the way I had to take circuitous roads through and/or around Pelham Bay Park to get out to City Island (don’t remember the exact route – it was years ago).
Finally I was driving along City Island’s main drag. Mooncurser records was in a big barn of a building, and I can only say WOW! records!! … floor to ceiling…miles of aisles of them!! Roberge, the owner, was the friendliest guy. He had music playing, of course, and would put on records he liked, I think he was playing songs from the 40s, He was singing happily along with them, as he camped out in the big easy chair in the front of the store. He also had several old fashioned record players on display, in various corners of the store. There were maybe half a dozen or so, ancient boxing style movie theater posters, for theaters up in Massachusetts, decorating the walls. When I asked him, he told me he was from Mass. originally.
But the records…..! Wow! A record collectors dream – needed a ladder to get up to the top shelves. I remember the aisle next to the window on the store’s right side, was almost completely devoted to Latin records….again floor to ceiling!! Those many Latin LPs in one place in a used record store? Simply amazing! Never had heard of many of them. Wonder if he had bought out the inventory of one or more Latin record stores.
I went their looking for a Champion Jack Dupree record on London (English Decca), because it contained one or more un-anthologized tracks with John Mayall and Eric Clapton (these are still not widely available – not even on the Bluesbreakers Mayall/Clapton Bluesbreaker UK re-issue, which contains a whole extra CD of Mayall/Clapton cuts – BBC sessions, singles, live, etc.). Didn’t find it, though I found a wonderful Erroll Garner double LP re-issue from the 70s on Columbia, and, woo hoo! – the fan club only Beatles LP that collected all their Christmas fan club singles – very listenable and in average shape for under $20. All in all a very satisfying and productive afternoon of journeying to another part of the city, and finding another record store. Thank you Kevin!! 🙂

* further road notes: When I was under five years old, prior to the Tappan Zee bridge opening, we’d drive via Grand Central from Queens > Manhattan > Holland / or Lincoln tunnels > Jersey, Rt. 1/9 north > somehow getting over to Route 17 north > through Rockland and Orange counties > to Middletown.
Many times, our trip included a stop at the sprawling Red Apple Rest, restaurant. I have only vague memories of these trips, looking out the passenger side window of our Studebaker, and waving at other people in the cars around us…..

Dan S. August 23, 2014 - 3:18 pm

I was there on that tour #9, and saw that photo being taken. That’s my friend Ellen on the right, in the black leather jacket, with the curly hair.

Arty January 19, 2015 - 10:02 pm

Nice nice

Brooke July 31, 2019 - 8:33 am

Any stores hold a candle to this place?

Went there a couple times in the early 2000s and haven’t found any place in the city on the same level.


Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.