As opportunities presented themselves, I ventured into Little Italy, Chinatown and also traveled to the Upper West Side and further up to Arthur's Avenue in the Bronx. (Thank you, friend with a car!) Columbia University friends occasionally invited me up for dinner, as well as, amusements like the summer Jazz Festival (held in August). And, I explored parts of Harlem with my friend, a young energetic gay man from Atlanta, who was also my theatre and brunch buddy. [He took me to a Sunday service at The Abyssinian Baptist Church, where I met his paster, Calvin Butts III and afterwards treated me to brunch at Miss Mamie's Spoonbread Too on West 110th Street.]
But alas, like so many other towns in the USA, beloved mom and pop shops are fast disappearing here in New York City unable to pay sky high rents or compete with big box stores, and what a tremendous loss of culture this is! City halls of America, can't both types of businesses succeed with your ingenuity and tax incentives?
Today I am featuring a fun, spirited mom and pop shop which opened during our pandemic in November, 2020 on the Upper East Side called Brothers Guitar Shop NYC (located at 316 East 84th Street). Meanwhile several big box stores such as Bed, Bath and Beyond, Williams Sonoma, the Container Store, GAP, Banana Republic and American Eagle shut their doors permanently during the pandemic.
I do not play guitar, yet am still drawn into the accessible and friendly Brothers Guitar Shop. I'm impressed with how lovely and creatively the proprietors display their inventory making the best use of their narrow, railroad-car-shaped space. There are tons of guitars and accessories prominently hanging off walls throughout the place without erecting a messy, claustrophobic feel. Instead, you are surrounded by heart and charm! These shopkeepers love music and talking shop! The employees buy, sell, repair and maintain guitars, and will teach novice or experienced guitar players chords and licks. Chances are you'll hear a jam session while in the store.
As the weather heats up and permits are obtained, the owners plan several exciting musical events. Check their website for updates, or to order merchandize online. Better yet! Come to the neighborhood to support small businesses including these enterprising brothers. Let's experience the milieu of Yorkville, a real residential neighborhood in-person ... and step foot into a special neighborhood music shop!
You may also enjoy: