When Bob Plotnik quit law to open up a record store in Greenwich Village in the ’60s, the only thing he wanted was to get hold of his favorite street doo-wop records ahead of everyone else.
He couldn’t have known that the store would still be there nearly 50 years later—that it would survive the introduction of cassettes, CDs and MP3s, outlast CBGB, even stay open after Bob had a huge stroke and handed the store over to his colleagues to run.
And though “Bleecker Bob” is identified with some of the great names of rock and roll through the decades, and especially downtown movements from the Village’s folk scene through punk, new wave and alternative music, now, time is finally catching up with the oldest record store in the Village.
There are cracks in the black and white linoleum floor. Dust gathers on Bob’s collection of art deco clocks, many of which have stopped. Though the landlord of their building on West Third Street has been good to Bob over the years, he’s finally putting the rent up in line with prices in the area. Bleecker Bob’s is getting priced out.
Bleecker Bob’s will stay open until the landlord has found a new tenant. When it goes, it will take with it a huge part of the history of the Village. And it looks unlikely to find a new place to open up. Here, meet the people who made the store a New York institution, and watch as they struggle to decide what’s next. And, next time you’re in the neighborhood, stop in while you can.