After winding down his New Paltz business ahead of the gubernatorial order to close up shop due to the pandemic, Jack’s Rhythms owner John Lefsky has decided not to reopen once the all-clear is sounded. Passersby noticed that merchandise in the window had been replaced with a “for rent” sign late last month. The phone number for the business is no longer in service.
Lefsky was an employee of then-owner Jack Goldberg when he purchased the shop in 2009. Goldberg died just a few months later, and according to information on the store’s website, “The store continues to carry his name in tribute to the tremendous life he led, not just as a shopkeeper and music lover, but as a man who lived to connect with other people . . . . Hardly a day goes by that he is not thought of, or mentioned by a customer, and that is how it should be.”
Goldberg opened his record business in 1990.
Jack’s Rhythms survived the downward interest in records that began in the Nineties, perhaps to the fact regular customers could talk at length with the proprietor about music and the world; Lefsky continued that tradition, and told a reporter in 2014 that he could see the resurgent interest in vinyl.
Parents, he recalled then, would be surprised when their children not only knew what a record was, but were actually seeking them out. The reasons included a perception of ownership of music as opposed to the rent-like nature of digital fare, as well as an opinion that analog recordings capture nuance and subtlety better.
March 22, the day the “pause” order went into effect, Lefsky posted to his business Facebook page, “Well, that’s it for now. I’ll be checking FB periodically, yada yada…” with a video of Kevin Ayers’ “See You Later/Didn’t Feel Lonely Till I Thought of You.” He made a public post to his own Facebook feed April 30 about selling cabinets from the store. Attempts to contact him for comment were unsuccessful.