Memory Lane - Music Row


Silver Member
There is a thread on the forum about Buddy Rich memorabilia in which a store named "Manny's" is mentioned. This triggered some fond memories for me.

In the 70s and early 80s I can recall going NYC's Music Row on 48th street many times to purchase equipment. This WAS the place to go no matter if you were a beginner or one of the best artists in the world, For me, Manny's was always the first stop (some of the Sonors I still have came from Mannys), followed by San Ash (a much different Sam Ash that what they have grown to), We Buy Guitars (with their big sign), Alex Music, etc.

In the 80s and into the 90's Sam Ash had expanded into the New York and New Jersey areas, and by then end of the decade had all but bought out all the stores on the entire block in New York. Sam Ash has since moved off what was Music Row to a new large single location in NYC. Today I looked at google maps and the only thing left on Music Row from that era looks to be the Manny's sign on what was their building. It was sad because so many musicians will never get to experience the magic of Music Row., running into who knows who, talking with some true experts, seeing 50 years of history on the walls, etc.

I started this thread in hopes some of you who had experienced Music Row will add to it. :)


Well-known member
I used to go a bunch almost on a monthly basis from 1984 - 1986. I live a short plane ride away so I used to take the first flight out and the last flight back same day.

When I was there I'd take 2-3 lessons at the Drummer's Collective, rented a practice room there to shed a little and then then hung out for the day on 48th at all the shops.

Absolutely was a very different place back then. All those shops are gone but having Maxwells is a great thing. Fortunately the streets have cleaned up a bunch as well.

I was pretty young and stupid (now I'm just middle-aged and stupid) so I'm sure I missed a ton of other things to do.


Silver Member
I moved to NYC in '86, so I caught the tail end of Music Row... In the beginning of that time, I was going to school downtown, so friends and I would make occasional trips to mid-town to check out the stores. It was fun because of the great variety of stores - the big ones were always Manny's and Sam Ash - but the smaller stores like Alex Music and We Buy Guitars were great too - they all had their own vibe...

The energy on that street was undeniable - I'd always run into friends there, and it seemed like a place where famous people could be themselves. I saw MIles in front of Manny's carrying his horn, Steve Smith walking down the street with a huge pile of drumheads under his arm, Bruce Willis buying a harmonica at Alex Music, Marvin Smitty Smith jumping behind the counter in the Manny's Drum dept, selling sticks to people, Meshell Ndegeocello giving a bass clinic, etc, etc, etc!!!


Silver Member
Fond memories? YES! I grew up in western PA but had relatives in north Jersey. I remember going there with my parents when we were visiting when I was about 15 in 1975 to buy my first "Good" cymbals at Mannys: Zildjian Rock 21, New Beat Hats, and an 18" crash. Prices on Music Row were about 60% of what I would have payed in my hometown, so it was a great deal at the time. The streets of NYC sure seemed a lot rougher back then...