They call themselves a world instrument shop. In fact, they are a local institution, a blast from the past, and one of New York’s oldest continually-run music store, opening its doors in 1958.
Come inside The Music Inn.
Inside you’ll be transported back in time to a 1960s Greenwich Village, surrounded by instruments of every conceivable shape and size, with some hanging from the rafters since ‘the moon was in the seventh house’. And that’s just on the first floor.
Take the stairs down below (image below) to separate rooms with neatly organized instruments and several areas to explore, experiment, make music or learn.
Jeff Slatnick first became associated with the shop as a customer and employee in the 1960s, returning in the 1970s, to become its owner ~ moving the shop from a sea of guitars to a mix including Indian instruments. While guitars are still plentiful, an equal number of African drums, gourds, sitars, fiddles and mandolins can be found. Having studied Indian Classical Music under Ali Akbar Khan, Slatnick is also known to give lessons.
The shop is a hub for instrument sales and repairs. But having begun life as a record shop, it still has a wide variety of records in every genre.
Open Mic is held every Thursday night. Sign-up at 7pm, event runs from 8pm to 12:30am with music, comedy and poetry, $5 cover.
Film crews love the shop, most recently ~ The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel in 2018.
West Fourth Street was once the center of the Bohemian Village ~ home to the Golden Swan Bar, a haunt of Eugene O’Neil and the setting and inspiration for his play ‘The Iceman Cometh.’ Writer Willa Cather lived around the corner at 60 Washington Square South, near journalists John Reed and Lincoln Steffens.
Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney founded the Whitney Studio Club in a brownstone at 147 West 4th Street. The painter John Sloan lived at 240 West 4th Street, and was known to paint locations along the street.
Later in years, the folk club Gerde’s Folk City opened at 11 West 4th Street, debuting Bob Dylan and Simon & Garfunkel. The Bottom Line opened at 15 West 4th street in l974 (to close in 2004). Now one of the priciest neighborhoods in Manhattan.
It’s worth noting that Bob Dylan’s first apartment was located at 161 West Fourth Street (1961). The rent was $60 per month. It is also worth noting that the building, which was built in 1910, sold in 2015 for $6 million. We hope The Music Inn’s landlord loves music.
More from GothamToGo in the Greenwich Village Archives.
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