J&R’s music history will be preserved in (another!) new City Winery venue

J&R Music spent 44 years at its site along the length of Park Row (1971 to 2914), amassing not just a global reputation as music retailers but also pieces of American music history. Now, as the company develops its properties there, it is adding a venue to celebrate that history — and has called on neighbor Michael Dorf to do it. J&R Music Lounge By City Winery will open sometime this spring in the basement of 15 Park Row, and will be billed as a live music lounge and supper club to seat about 200 — much smaller than its City Winery siblings, but with the same cool vibe.

It all started with a call out of the blue to Dorf from Rachelle Friedman, the R in J&R (her husband is the J). “She’s a legend,” said Dorf, who went to her office at 15 Park Row about a year ago to discuss her idea — sitting among souvenirs like a white baby grand signed by Lady Gaga. At that time he was a bit bogged down, having just learned that his lease for City Winery would soon be terminated to make way for Disney. “But she was so compelling and such a good saleswoman that I couldn’t not go along.” To envision the space that the two cooked up, think jazz club but with a broader definition of jazz — live music with dinner and some ticketed events, some not. “It’s hard to define, it may be more of an eatery with good music, but we are going to feel that out.” And since Dorf speaks in fully-formed sentences, and is clearly so jazzed about this venture, I’ll let him take it from here:

“It’s all really exciting. The building has such a deep history — it was once the tallest building in the city before the Woolworth Building was built — and we get to be part of this historic space. It’s about preserving some of the great things about New York. J&R was not just a retail chain, it was New York, and it was downtown New York. It’s an honor to pay homage to a 40-year retailer that we always used, not just for music but for parts and even for toasters. And this is really a partnership. Jason Friedman, Rachelle’s son, is excited about it and is getting involved in construction so I don’t have to show up here every day. They are far from a mom-and-pop operation, but they are personally involved. It is making it a lot more fun and a lot easier on me as we build out Pier 57 at the same time.”

They hope to have the space open by April or May.

 

8 Comments

  1. I bit of a typo in the article, we have a long term lease with HRPT for City Vineyard all good, it was City Winery on Varick that Disney gave us the demo clause, due to a false lie by Trinity.

    Also, we are paying rent. But my point is that is “partnership” and not a normal rent paying arrangement, but building a project together…

    Nevertheless, this will be a great downtown night spot, cool, great food, great culture and keeping the J&R legacy going.

    • Wishing this project success…and looking forward to hearing some great music in the venue.

    • Welcome to a new owner that lies. Our lobby has been under construction for 2 years, with only 2 of 6 elevators for a full apartment building. Ask them about the rooftop that now is no longer. April or May of 2914…

  2. Won’t Park Row be under water by 2914…?

    • Actually City Hall and its environs are the highest ground in the neighborhood. Some predictions show that will be the only dry land by 2300.

  3. First demolition then construction on the right, then demolition then construction on the left… can’t wait for some underneath! Gotta love the Friedmans!

  4. I have a teammate who lives in that building and we both think a music venue in the ‘hood would be awesome!

    BUT, she says that the building has serious problems like a lobby in constant construction and there are only 2 of 5 elevators working and that is when they are working. Apparently the elevators always going kaput. I told her that someone needs to investigate because it seems not safe.
    I understand TribecaCitizen cannot investigate because 15 Park Row is a potential revenue source, but that place that you call ‘legendary’ could be dangerous to its tenants. And yes I have been there and experienced it.

    • I will happily take advertising from 15 Park Row! But as far as I know they never have advertised in the Citizen.
      As for investigating, there are many open DOB elevator violations for the address, dating back to 2017, which I have looked at in the past. Those are open records and can be found here.

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