I bought my first and only violin at Manny's in 1968-69, in an old-fashioned antique wooden case, which I lined myself with beautiful red velvet. I remember he asked me "How much money you got?" and I said "$50.00!" and he turned and took a lovely antique violin down from the wall with it's original wooden case, and I fell in love. I couldn't believe it!
I learned to play that violin and loved it for many years (despite the scratching and squalling in the "early learning" stages), but ended up sticking with the piano in later years, since I didn't need calluses to be able to play.
I always remember walking into that crowded shop at 18 years of age, full of musicians who paid little attention to me, a star-struck teenager really, determined to "make it in NY." Loved every minute of being there in the Village, working at the Gaslight and getting to hear all the greats play there for free: that's why I took the job in the first place! Seems like a book I read years ago or a movie I watched... what a wonderful bunch of years to spend there and what a way to "grow up." Lucky me!