Monday, April 13, 2009


Patelson's is closing.

It's what you would expect: years of losses, many competing sources for sheet music, a second generation without the business skills of the first. The old saw - what counts is location, location, location -no longer works in the new economy. And Patelson's, around the corner from Carnegie Hall, has the best location.

I purchased a lot of music at Patelson's between about 1971 and 1982, and I imagine music students living in NYC bought even more. Being able to browse the stock was eye-opening. You mean flute players can do that?

Goodbye, and thanks.


Anonymous said...

I found that depressing news. If you lived in New York in the 50's as I did, it was just the default place-why would you go anywhere else? They had everything. Probably the vanishing of Byron Hoyt, here in SF, was a harbinger. I remember Hoyt as a vast warehouse where individual clerks sat at widely scattered desks, typing on big manual Remingtons well into the computer era; when you brought your purchases to them, they'd ask if you wanted to open an account, and if you said yes, you had opened an account; eventually a clumsily typed invoice would arrive by mail. Then most of the inventory went bye-bye, replaced by cardboard markers to tell you what you could order; the remaining staff clustered near the front, using computers as if afraid they might explode. Then a new owner took over and announced big plans, including recitals--a grand piano was briefly installed. Then they announced a move to Grove and Van Ness (good location) but that was delayed indefinitely for seismic retrofitting, so they opened in a tiny spot on Hayes, upstairs from an art gallery. Then suddenly no store, no web site, nothing. Today Byron Hoyt, tomorrow... it's sad.

Lisa Hirsch said...

It is, indeed. And it sucks that you cannot walk into these places and just browse the stock. Now you have to know what you need or want before you buy it, so to speak. I have a number of serendipitous finds from music stores and bookstores, and....

I remember when Byron Hoyt was going to move to Grove & Van Ness and how it never happened. Disappearing stock is a clear sign of impending doom; I saw it in the 80s at A Woman's Place Bookstore and in 2007 with Cody's.