Manny himself put a guitar in my hands when I stopped in with my mom the very first time. Actually I was looking at a guitar in the window (of the original store which was closer to 6th ave) & he asked if I wanted to try a guitar. It ruined any future medical school prospects!
Over the years Henry was a gentleman and a warm, nurturing spirit. He set up my first Rickenbacker 12 string right after I bought it. I used that guitar on many records including "Shannon". Years later (in the 70's) I stopped in and Henry had held back a Double bound 12 string Rick from 1967 for me that he had taken in trade. He could've asked any price and I'd've paid it. Instead he practically gave it to me. I always wondered if he remembered me bringing in nearly every dollar I'd saved from lawn cutting & delivering prescriptions for my dad's drugstore to buy that first Rick. I bought many instruments and especially effects there. Since I heard about the closing I've managed to find a cache of Manny's picks. I've been sending them to those musicians who really get it! It was not a store. It was THE store! It was a place where you could rub elbows with the greatest musicians on earth. Yeah, There were times I came in to try a guitar and the salesman asked: "Are you gonna buy it?" But I was from Brooklyn so I'd give him a wise ass reply and always got to try the guitar. That store was a microcosm of New York. If you could get them to let you try a guitar on a busy Saturday afternoon you knew eventually you'd get a hit record! It was actually a more realistic goal when I started! Stuart & Judd were great too! I gave Henry an 8X10 for the wall when "Shannon" went gold. I never did ask if it went on the wall. I was too afraid of the disappointment if it didn't. That wall was the real Rock & Roll hall of fame to me and thousands of others. We were truly blessed that those people ran that store. If they hadn't, someone else would've been successful there but not in the same perfect way. I wish everyone I ever met there , owners, staff & customers love, health & all the best of everything. That store made us all family! "Manny's" is dead! Long live Manny's! Sincerely, Henry Gross