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M I SPY

LET’S GO ISLANDERS… MUSIC STORES

It was an interesting winter on Long Island. A significant snowstorm in November was followed by no snow in December or January. Frigid “Polar Vortex” temperatures in February were followed by 60-degree weather only a few days later, and then below-freezing temperatures once again. On the sports front, the world is topsy turvy. Other than the powerhouse Yankees, the New York Islanders hockey team had the best season of any New York-area team, making the team relevant again for one of the few times since its last Stanley Cup appearance 35 years ago. Yes, the New York Islanders are good again, providing plenty of pride for Long Islanders, despite the fact the team plays in two home arenas, Barclay’s Center in Brooklyn, N.Y., and NYCB Live, also known as the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum and “The Barn” in Uniondale, N.Y. Music has always been a sense of pride on Long Island. Of course, it produced the great Billy Joel, who currently has a monthly residency at Manhattan’s Madison Square Garden. Long Island has also served as the home to Lou Reed, Harry Chapin, LL Cool J, Mariah Carey, Blue Öyster Cult, Vanilla Fudge, Idina Menzel, Debbie Gibson, Laura Branigan, Taylor Dayne, Flavor Flav, Busta Rhymes, Jordan Rudess, Joe Satriani, Brian Setzer, Dee Snider and Steve Vai. So, although Long Island will never get the music-mecca acclaim that places like Nashville, New Orleans, Los Angeles or neighboring New York City often receive, Long Island really holds its own, thank you. Regarding MI stores, Long Island is of course home to Sam Ash, which is based in Hicksville. Considering the music history on Long Island, I admit I had high standards heading into the MI stores. The toughest part was selecting which MI stores to visit. Long Island has a ton of music stores. I certainly didn’t have a scientific process. I simply decided to select one store in western Nassau County, one store in eastern Nassau County, and two stores in western Suffolk County, where I could end my day with a visit to the plethora of bars that Huntington Village provides. I decided my mission to was to look for a guitar as a gift for a rock/metal guitarist with a budget of $1,000, give or take a few bucks. I started with Guitar Center. 42

I started my mission by heading down Glen Cove Road and making a brief right onto Old County Road. As is often the case on Long Island, I needed to wait out a brief construction delay at the intersection of Glen Cove Road and Hillside Avenue. Once past some sort of utility telephone pole work that closed one lane, I reached the shopping center that houses Guitar Center. Other than the MI store, the shopping center features a Stop & Shop supermarket, a P.C. Richard & Son appliance store, a Red Robin restaurant and one of the few Barnes & Nobles left standing on Long Island. As an added bonus, Long Island Railroad trains can often be heard rumbling just past the shopping center to the north. I sidled into the store and was surprisingly not noticed for a few minutes. (My excellent spy skills were at work). However, I heard everyone else being greeted right when they walked into the door. I definitely thought that was a good sign. Foreigner’s “Double Vison” was the choice of song when I walked in. I looked around at the wide array of new and used guitars on the walls and then moved toward the sales desk to see if I got noticed. I definitely did get noticed and was pleased. The salesperson shook my hand and told me his name. He asked for my name. Although it was a brief encounter, I really liked getting to know him on a first-name basis. He asked me what music the gift recipient played. I said “metal,” and he proceeded to show me several guitars. He recommended Randy Rhoads Jackson

Guitar Center 111 Old Country Road Carle Place NY 11514 516.248.2020

APRIL 2019

Profile for Music & Sound Retailer

Music & Sound Retailer April 2019, Vol 36 No 4