Another beloved Lower East Side independent business is fading away. Ludlow Guitars has made the decision to close up shop at 172 Ludlow St. after almost two decades in the neighborhood. Here’s the message from owner Kaan Howell:
With great sadness, we are informing you that Ludlow Guitars will be closing its doors to the Lower East Side this July 18th. These last 17 years have been an amazing journey and we are exceptionally proud to have been able to serve the musical community for as long we have. To have grown and shared our passion for music with those who have ever walked through our doors. We would like to thank everyone from the bottom of our hearts for helping make Ludlow Guitars what it is today, and though we are sad to go, not all is lost. We are in the process of finding a new home in Brooklyn and are hoping to have a new location up and running by the end of Fall. So, before the doors finally shut here, come down, reminisce, play some guitar and help us say farewell to a place that has been our home for so long.
Ludlow Guitars was one of the last holdouts on a block that once personified the Lower East Side’s bohemian creative spirit. A stretch that formerly included Max Fish, Pink Pony, Daredevil Tattoo and TG-170 is now dominated by two major hotels — Ludlow Hotel and Hotel Indigo — as well as the newly opened Soho House.
Here’s an excerpt from a 2012 profile of Ludlow Guitars in Made to Be Played, the blog of Guild Guitars:
Ludlow Guitars in Manhattan’s Lower East Side is a class-act New York destination for connoisseurs of fine instruments. “In a supermarket, you can get 18 different kinds of sliced white bread,” says owner (Kaan) Howell. “And if you know what you want, then that’s a perfectly good place to go. We’re not the supermarket; we’re the corner store.” But Ludlow Guitars doesn’t discriminate. Although the store attracts mostly discerning musicians, its doors are open to all. Besides, it’s hard for the average bystander not to be captivated by the bedazzling eye-candy mounted on the store’s walls.
Several years ago, Ludlow Guitars moved from a space a few doors away on the same block due to a steep rent hike.