Earlier this year, New York City’s Rough Trade location announced it was moving from its Williamsburg location to a secret new spot. The announcement of the move sucked. The original Rough Trade location was a special place where you could browse through records with your dog, find any kind of pop culture-related book you could imagine, and maybe catch a celebrity signing records or see a band you love doing soundcheck. The venue itself was pretty great, too, complete with a small balconied section. There was always something exciting going on, like a Parquet Courts lunchtime show, or free Record Store Day shows. So, many frequent visitors were wondering if this new mystery location would be worth the move. But it turns out that instead, it’s every New Yorker’s worst nightmare.
On Monday, it was announced that Rough Trade’s new location would be at Rockefeller Center. That means it’s set to become a tourist trap, surrounded by shops like The NBC Store and The LEGO Store. It’ll be missing the clientele that frequented the former location, and who went there because it was a big part of the neighborhood. To make matters worse, this new Rough Trade location will be in a smaller spot. The New York Times reported it’ll be taking over a space that was a former shoe store, and is “just under a quarter of the size of Rough Trade’s old Williamsburg location.”
The worst part is that it won’t have a real venue. Instead, this new location will “be part of the programming at Rockefeller Center, and its Midtown gigs will be held on the building’s 65th floor in the ritzy Rainbow Room, and at surrounding spaces such as the plaza and, in summertime, the ice skating rink.” That makes Rough Trade lose its magic. People went to the old Rough Trade location in spite of its ridiculously expensive drinks because they could see their favorite bands in an intimate setting with great sound. But the new Rough Trade setup makes it sound somehow worse than Manhattan’s infamously loathed venue, Terminal 5. This is a terrible decision all-around, and many have already taken to Twitter to call out the decision of attempting to turn Rough Trade into a cash cow instead of keeping it a beloved record store and venue for people who loved having a nice place to visit in their community. But hey, at least it could be worse. It could’ve been right in the middle of Times Square. We’ll have to see how long this new location lasts.