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Harlem Record Shack (former)

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Longtime Harlem record store

Place Details

Borough : Manhattan
Neighborhood : Harlem
Commercial, Great Places to Shop, African/ American, Shopping

Place Matters Profile

The Harlem Record Shack is a longtime neighborhood asset located along the 125th St. commercial corridor that is threatend with closure.

The Harlem Record Shack has operated from this spot across the the street from the Apollo Theater since 1972. Its first location was a few blocks uptown, at Frederick Douglas Blvd. and 135th St., where it opened in 1968. It is owned and run by Sikhulu Shange, who emigrated to NYC from South Africa in 1964 after visiting with a dance troupe to perform in the World's Fair.

Mr. Shange told us that like music stores in other communities, the Record Shack has various functions:

"There are so many things that this musical outlet has contributed besides just selling music outright. The Record Shack has been, more or less, a place where musicians who come to town could make a whistle stop. Also, the record companies could send their...

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Interview with Sikhulu Shange by Elena Martinez, 4 Feb., 2008

[Posted by Place Matters, Mar. 2008]

The Harlem Record Shack has closed. The space is now occupied by an optical store. (July 2010)


Bobby Sanabria

This record store has been in Harlem for 40 years and at this site for 36 years. It carries music for the African-American community and also provides other services as a long standing member of neighborhood.

The landlord wants to end the Record Shack's lease on March 31, 2008. Small music stores are disappearing all over. If we lose them not only do we lose access to some music that might not be available in big commerical record stores but we lose the musical history associated with them. (Feb. 2008)

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