If your idea of “discovering” new music is sitting back with a soy-milk Frappawhatever and browsing Pitchfork, then maybe you need 2 Bridges… but first you have to find it. Tucked away underneath the Manhattan Bridge in the New York Mart, the hidden gem sells independent, experimental, and international music as well as literature and art books.
You won’t find any other music stores amongst the clothing vendors in the mall at 75 East Broadway – or many signs in English for that matter – but 2 Bridges integrates well with its blue-lit title sign translated into Chinese out front. For Simon Gabriel Greenberg, the store’s owner, this is all part of the atmosphere. “Being here in this mall has this slightly disorienting quality,” he says, “so [experimental] music goes over really well here.”
Simon seems like more of a curator than a businessman, and his place has the comforting energy of a small museum. It’s designed for browsing and exploring, with two turntables by the large, front window where you can listen to records while you watch the bustling Chinatown intersection below. This isn’t where you rediscover that rare album of your childhood – it’s where you connect with music that will “challenge your world view,” per Simon.
Almost everything at 2 Bridges is brand new and hard to track down anywhere else. You might discover music from Nuno Canavarro, Portuguese composer and member of pop-rock band Delfins. Or the Javanese punk of Wukir Suryadi from Indonesia. Or an art book like Dear Reader. Don’t Read., by Mexican conceptual artist Ulises Carrion. Just look through the bin of “New Arrivals” or ask Simon, who filters the embarrassment of riches in the age of the internet.
Simon is a traveler, which gives a sense of place to 2 Bridges. But he was born in New York. “I wanted to keep [the experimental art scene] in Manhattan because I am a Manhattan person,” he said, harking back to a time when downtown Manhattan was the home of independent, experimental art. “That’s something that has been pushed out a little bit and to have a place where that still exists to me is super important just for the fabric of the city.”
So put down that Seamless app and head over there – you can always buy a steamed Chinese bun along the way.
2 Bridges Music Arts at 75 East Broadway #205.