With its walls festooned with posters, photographs and rare LPs, and the sound system blasting anything from deep soul to death metal, a visit to Bleecker Bob's is a genuine rock 'n' roll experience even if you're "just looking." Bob Plotnik was trained as a lawyer, but in 1967 his love of doo-wop led him to open a second-floor record store called Village Oldies on Bleecker Street. "He thought he could get these doo-wop records cheaper if he had a store," said longtime employee John DeSalvo in a 2008 interview, by which time both he and senior manager Chris Wiedener had worked at the store for more than 30 years. Bleecker Bob's relocated to 179 MacDougal St., then moved to 118 W. 3rd St. in the early '80s. In the late '70s, punk rock made the store a household name among fans and collectors. As the years went by, Plotnik maintained his uncanny ability to meet the demands of successive waves of collector enthusiasm, ranging from rare rockabilly to break-beat funk. Musicians from the Patti Smith Group and New York Dolls are among those who have manned the cash register at Bleecker Bob's, which celebrated its 40th year of business in 2007.
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