If you walk down Bleecker Street between Avenue of the Americas and MacDougal Street you will find a small storefront filled with bins of vinyl records, CDs and DVDs. It is the Village Music World, a music store owned by Jamal AlNasr.
Inside, behind the counter, AlNasr, 44, oversees his kingdom; a long, narrow space where each wall is packed floor to ceiling with a variety of music genres. AlNasr rummages through his collection and fills the space with rhythmic guitars and drums coming out the speakers, he loves rock n’ roll. He recalls that the first thing he sold was a Rolling Stones album.
AlNasr got into the business by pure pleasure. 26 years ago this Lebanese immigrant decided to trade with what he likes the most, music records. “The key is you got to like what you do,” he says. “But you have to do a lot. I’m online, I’m a vendor on Amazon, etc.”
In an increasingly digital society, where downloading music has become the rule, music stores are a tale from the old days. But although hundreds have disappeared, the Village Music World is still in business thanks to music collectors and vinyl aficionados.
AlNasr, standing in the back of his store is casually dressed; he has salt and pepper short hair and a stocky build. Friendly and helpful to his costumers, he lets them explore aisles of records and is ready to help find what you are looking for and offers great recommendations.
Although some consider the Village Music World is an overpriced store, AlNasr has maintained it as one of the fewer places where fans can have a physical music-buying experience in New York City. “You have to be really creative to maintain yourself in this kind of business,” he says.