Brill Building/Colony Records

Manhattan – Midtown West

Brill Building/Colony Records

1619 Broadway (at W. 49th St.)
Manhattan, NY 10019

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Harold S. "Nappy" Grossbardt and his partner, Sidney Turk, founded Colony Records in 1948 after Grossbardt's former employer, Colony Sporting Goods, went out of business at Broadway and West 52nd Street. The store's extended hours and prime location made it popular with musicians, theatergoers and nightclub patrons. In 1970, Colony moved to the Brill Building, at 1619 Broadway, where it continues to do a brisk business in the sale of sheet music, sound tracks and Broadway memorabilia. The Brill Building was erected in 1931 and named for the Brill Brothers clothing store that occupied its corner retail space. During the Depression, a paucity of commercial tenants caused the owners to rent space to music publishers, and by 1962 the Brill Building's 11 floors housed an estimated 165 music-related businesses. These included record labels and small recording studios, but most of the offices were occupied by songwriters and publishing firms, including Hill & Range, Arc Music and Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller's Trio Music. Songwriters Neil Diamond, Jeff Barry and Ellie Greenwich, Doc Pomus and Mort Shuman and Burt Bacharach and Hal David all worked out of the Brill Building. The Dixie Cups' "Chapel of Love," The Drifters' "This Magic Moment" and Dionne Warwick's "Don't Make Me Over" are among the many pop classics that emanated from the Brill Building during its early-'60s peak.

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