When Turk closed the door to the public for the last time after 6 PM that Sunday, on the corner of 49th and Broadway, a crowd of 100 people was there to wish him well. They applauded, he told Playbill.com.
"Every 'character store' is gone now," Turk said, lamenting what he sees as the corporate, mall-like quality that pervades Times Square today. He said the closure after 64 years of selling classical, pop and Broadway sheet music and cast recordings (41 years at its present location) was a perfect storm of "technology meets economics." In short, it's easier for records and sheet music to be bought off the internet; brick-and-mortar businesses are not easy to maintain in the high-rent world of Manhattan real estate.
As of Sept. 26, the inventory has been sold off or returned to publishers and record labels, the 5,000-square-foot venue (formerly a bank) has been gutted and the 15 employees have been let go. The exact day that Turk turns the keys over to the landlord is yet to be determined, but it's imminent, he said, adding that since Aug. 23, when The Colony (as he calls it) was first reported to be shuttering, the end has been "a humbling experience."
In recent weeks, hundreds of people — musicians, actors, singers, fans of show music — have stopped by the store to share their memories. He captured more than 100 of their stories on video, possibly for future blog or website posting. An independent company is working on a film documentary about Colony, and Turk said he thinks the store's history and memorabilia would make for a good coffee table book. Political leaders, Tony Award winners, film stars, movie directors and pop music icons (Neil Diamond, among others) have visited Colony over the years.
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