Simply off of Times Square, on the block of forty eighth Road between Sixth and Seventh avenues, as soon as stood Music Row.
From the Thirties to 2018, the area was home to eclectic shops like Sam Ash that offered devices and different musical accouterments to the likes of Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton, the Rolling Stones and The Beatles. Heard of ‘em?
There was nothing else prefer it in New York Metropolis or wherever else on this planet, for that matter.
These days, nonetheless, I confer with that unhappy stretch of asphalt and inexplicable mildew scent as Chipotle Manner or Scaffolding Road, relying on which facet I enter from.
However one opportunistic, infamously cheesy conglomerate would have you ever consider that the long-lasting Music Row is again and thriving. That grasping constructing homeowners didn’t boot out a few of the final vestiges of distinctive neighborhood character in Midtown in favor of bong shops and espresso bars. That Ringo Starr would possibly roll as much as buy new drumsticks any day now.
That will be the brand new Hard Rock Hotel, the latest outpost of the memorabilia and kitsch model that surprisingly nonetheless exists. It joins Jimmy Buffett’s Margaritaville Resort, Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. and David and Buster’s as companies that make me suppose, “Perhaps Mayor Adams should try bringing back the XXX movie theaters and crack dealers!”
But someway the Hard Rock is the largest slap within the face of all of these schlock factories as a result of it so flagrantly steals from the rubble it’s standing atop. One of many three theaters it homes is even referred to as “The Venue at Music Row.” Oh, please.
Inside, the Hard Rock is considerably extra elegant than its worldwide brethren of lodgings and chicken-finger-filled cafes. I searched and looked for considered one of ZZ High’s beards stapled to a wall, however didn’t even spot stubble.
Then I squeamishly encountered the ground-floor Rock Store, the place you’ll be able to’t purchase guitars from grasp craftsmen who’ve honed their artwork for many years, however you’ll be able to take residence a Hard Rock-branded sequined bomber jacket for $150. And for these of you who actually embrace the intercourse, medication and rock ‘n’ roll life-style, decide up a croissant within the well-lit hooked up bakery.
Why not go even more durable, man? Up in your room you are able to do “RockOm” yoga, or have a Fender guitar delivered so that you can poorly play whereas filming Instagram movies — with headphones. Get together on, losers!
Making my method upstairs to the bar and restaurant, I began to see the standard trinkets, however they made me extra nauseous than in Florida or Las Vegas. New York, not like Orlando, already is a museum of music historical past with out having to resort to such company gimmickry.
Behind one glass pane was a love letter despatched by Frank Sinatra to his then-wife Mia Farrow. Good. However why not as a substitute go to one of many Chairman of the Board’s favourite New York hangouts only a few blocks away? The Russian Samovar on 52nd Road was as soon as referred to as Jilly’s Canteen the place Sinatra would spend many an evening. The bar upstairs has been saved as is — not knocked down and commodified by a 446-room lodge.
Then there have been Girl Gaga’s silver boots she wore to the 2018 Grammy Awards. The Little Monsters are absolutely plotting to steal them even now. As an alternative of getting arrested, head all the way down to the Bitter Finish within the West Village, the place Gaga carried out when she was nonetheless referred to as Stefani Germanotta.
John Lennon’s 1971 handwritten lyrics to “New York City” are a candy discover. Extra transferring, and chilling to this present day, although, is standing exterior the Dakota, the place the Beatle lived and was murdered by Mark David Chapman.
Each block on this metropolis has a narrative like that. I simply realized that I stroll by Bob Dylan’s first NYC condo each single day (161 West 4th Road) and had no clue. However, oh, the Hard Rock has considered one of his guitars, so why hassle venturing past the neon lights of Midtown, with its comforting Krispy Kreme and brutally scorched meats on a bun?
Times Square is quick turning into Epcot with crime, or Las Vegas and not using a miniaturized St. Mark’s Square. It’s a travesty.
Right here’s the chilly, Hard Rock reality: The Crossroads of the World ought to maintain onto extra issues which might be proudly, unmistakably and unapologetically New York. And screw the remainder.