By GARY FONVILLE
Forgotten NY correspondent
I was in Lower Manhattan recently headed to a national stationery store to purchase computer ink. Don’t get me started on how computer printer companies gouge you on the price of ink and the strategies they use to make you buy more. That’s a story for another day. When I got to Vesey Street & Broadway, I saw the J&R logo on their former building at Ann Street & Park Row, and was reminded about how J&R held guard on almost the entire block of Park Row, between Ann and Beekman Streets.
Over the years, I spent an untold fortune there on electronic equipment, vinyl and CDs. Actually, I began shopping at J&R around 1974 when I believe they only occupied a storefront. Over the years they grew to where each storefront specialized in different areas such as computers, musical instruments, cameras, audio video and recorded music.
This complex known as J&R Music World was started by (J)oseph and (R)achelle Friedman in 1971 as something to augment their income. Over the years, the store became very successful. I’ve been there around the Christmas holidays and entrance to the store had to be restricted due to overcrowding. But like many brick and mortar stores, they succumbed to the growing practice of consumers shopping on computers instead of going to a retail location. As a result, the business model they relied on for so long was no longer sustainable.
It appears that the real estate J&R stood on was worth more than the store. The Friedmans purchased property years ago, I guess, as an act of speculation. The bet paid off because the Friedmans, along with L&M Development Partners of New York, are building, as of this writing, upscale apartment buildings with 1-4 bedroom units.
[In anticipation of switching over to a new template soon, I have begun using Featured Images for One-Shot Pages again; hence, they won’t be visible on mobiles until the switch occurs. Bear with me… —ed.]
Please help contribute to a new Forgotten NY website