Established in 1994, The Music Zoo began its existence in a small, humble storefront on Northern Boulevard in Queens, New York, with just a few pieces of gear and a lesson room in the back. After 15 years, we absorbed half of the storefronts on that particular block of Northern, routinely running down the street and up flights of stairs to locate the case for a guitar that just sold. As inefficient as it was, that location was home and we had great success there. It was four years ago, however, when we knew it was time to move; there was no more space on the block to expand into, not to mention the combination of too many stairwells, low ceilings, and a severe lack of parking (as many of you will remember). And so, we began our search for a new facility in which The Music Zoo can grow well into future. And, in January 2011 we finally found it: a space that served as our warehouse, shipping depot, offices, and showroom, all in one spot and with all the space and efficiency that our beloved Queens location never offered.
For six months, we designed and built our facility, collaborated with manufacturers, spent money, made too many decisions, and then finally moved into our dream home, a process documented in this earlier blog entry. Here in 2014, we are marking our 20th Anniversary of selling the world’s finest gear to the world’s best customers, and we felt it was time to give the now three-year-old store a fitting tribute in photos. We hope you enjoy them. And if you have never visited us, we’d love to have you stop by and play as many guitars as you’d like! View the your below! Click the photos to enlarge!
We’ve designed our space to be an environment conducive to people who love guitars, talking about guitars, playing guitars, talking to other people who love guitars, trying out an amp at full-tilt volume, and perhaps taking one home with you. We can’t promise you that you won’t become more of a guitar addict than you already may be when you leave. Our downstairs lobby/showroom is filled with a handful of guitar styles and serves as an example of what lays farther ahead in our store.
When you climb the stairs from our lobby showroom to our balcony, you will encounter an intersection of guitar brands along with a variety of rooms you can visit. You’ll first notice our wall of Fender Custom Shop guitars and basses. We offer a wonderful selection of Fender Custom guitars which includes our Music Zoo Exclusive Ultimate Relics and No Neck Strats. You can lounge on our Fender Custom Shop couch, and perhaps strum a Rosewood Tele or a ’60 No-Neck Strat in a very relaxed, non-harried environment. Also ahead is a display case featuring effects pedals from companies such as Catalinbread, Fulltone, Pigtronix, and others.
From the balcony landing, a quick left turn leads you into our Gibson Custom showroom. The Music Zoo is one of four Gibson Custom Shop Benchmark Dealers in the world and is proud to offer the absolute best that Gibson has to offer, as well as unique, one-off Gibson guitars you won’t find anywhere else. You’ll also find plenty of Gibson-related accessories, from “bumblebee” capacitors to straps and Gibson guitar polish. Close the doors and blast a vintage JMP-era Marshall combo (you know what they say about Gibson’s and Marshalls!) or a Friedman Brown Eye (when we manage to keep one in stock).
Turn right from the balcony landing and you’ll be in our Taylor showroom. We have the only Taylor “Find Your Fit” showroom on the East Coast. This room allows you to find the body style that’s right for you, and also see and note the different tonewoods that Taylor uses on their guitars. Then, you can hear how it comes together in a Taylor guitar. Make yourself comfortable and discover the differences between Mahogany and Sapele, or a Grand Concert body versus a Grand Symphony body, and take the opportunity to play some fantastic six-string instruments. We have more Taylor guitars in stock than anyone this side of the Mississippi
A right and then a quick left from the Taylor showroom will lead you to a small room filled with boutique amplifiers and some John Suhr guitars adorning the walls. You can actually take any guitar you want into this room, close the door, and be uninterrupted!
Across from our Suhr/amp showroom is a room where we keep a variety of brands and instruments. You’ll find some great Ernie Ball/Music Man guitars as well as a selection of ukuleles, Godin MultiAc guitars, and beautifully built D’Angelico guitars.
Venture farther down the hallway that adjoins the Taylor room and you’ll find a cozy niche filled with more boutique amps and some great Duesenberg, Charvel, and Danelectro guitars. Plug in and play away on our Fender plush couch!
Down the hallway from our Taylor area leads to one of the finest acoustic guitar rooms, period. We call it, “Our Acoustic Room”, and it’s filled with Martins, Gibsons, Seagulls, Cole Clarks, and other brands of acoustic guitars all of them representing different builders, woods, tones and sizes that cater to personalized style such as your own. The room is acoustically perfect for trying out an acoustic guitar and it offers a balanced and neutral environment where you can “hear” the guitar and make the right selection. Go ahead, strum to your heart’s delight.
The Music Zoo makes its home in Roslyn, NY, an historic village on the North Shore of Long Island. Visit us and enjoy guitar nirvana, then take a walk into nearby Roslyn village which is filled with historic structures built in the 17th, 18th, and 19th centuries. George Washington slept in an old house up the street from us, now a Zagat-rated restaurant called Hendrick’s Tavern.
The Zoo’s 5000-foot facility is at the head of Hempstead Harbor, which connects to the Long Island Sound. Swans, geese, and egrets are a common sight in the nature preserve that is outside our windows.
Photography: Walter Bryant
Contributors: Mike Bieber, Tommy Colletti, Tim Reynolds