The Music Inn, located at 169 West 4th between 6th and 7th Avenues, is another Village institution, though to the casual passerby the place is an unknown oddity. Presenting a classic Village façade to the busy street outside, the Music Inn is chock full of musical instruments taken from the world over. Filled to the rafters with zithers, sitars, balalaikas, horns, keyboards, dilubas, bells, guitars, mandolins, gongs, hand drums, keyboards, various stringed and hundreds of rare, unique and unclassifiable instruments, the Music Inn has been in business since 1958. (the Music Inn was featured in an episode of the Naked City, starring Alan Arkin)
Owner Jeff is an old school, warm hearted kind of guy who has seen every era of Village change, from the ‘60s folk music boom to the ‘70s disco plunge to today’s gentrification rage. Back in the early '60s, Bob Dylan lived a few doors down at 161 West 4th, and was a regular patron, buying harmonicas and “100s of records,” Jeff recalls. Today, Jeff’s vinyl LPs (10,000 and counting) fill The Music Inn’s basement, though his stock is currently off limits while he tidies up the downstairs.
Jeff employs five workers, though he could obviously handle the place himself. He enjoys having them around; one employee has even created the Music Inn comic book series, featuring Jeff and his son. Jeff is working on the latest comic himself, concocting a story where George Carlin hangs with George Bush. Yea!
The Music Inn doesn’t have a website yet, but Jeff is working on it.