Stone Cellar, 1 Tower Place, Roslyn New York 11576 – Long closed
Long one of my distant memories, the Stone Cellar was one of the first record stores I ever went to, and the first offering used records for sale. Until I walked down the steps to enter the store – it was in the cellar – I had never seen a used record offered for sale in a store. My record shopping was limited to department stores like E.J. Korvette’s (code D), Master’s and May’s, now also long gone.
I have regularly scoured the Internet for pictures of the store, and solicited you my humble readers, without success. Finally, today, I found a picture of the store’s signage on the Roslyn Landmark Society’s website, which they apparently got from an eBay auction. They also had the second picture shown below, of the building that housed the store.
The Stone Cellar was a combination record store and head shop. The smoking gear was in a glass counter, and the records in their usual bins across.
I bought my first used record there, Jefferson Airplane’s Volunteers from 1969, complete with gatefold sleeve and peanut butter jelly sandwich, sometime in the early ’70s. Alas, no Stone Cellar sticker was on my copy.
The Stone Cellar was located in old Roslyn. It was across from the clock tower, in a collection of old stores and buildings dating back centuries. A used blue jean store was up the street. That was back in the day when you bought used jeans to get the worn-in look for less than new, long before clothing manufacturers ran new jeans thru various processes to get that look, and sold them to you new for more than new. The building that housed the store was built in 1862.
In 2001, long after the store went out of business, the building was destroyed in a fire. The lot has remained vacant ever since.
Back when I visited the store, old Roslyn was home to a number of bars and music venues. These included US Blues, Raffles and Ferns (a wine and cheese shop). But the best was the inestimable My Father’s Place – a live music venue. All are now just distant memories, although My Father’s Place was recently reincarnated as a music venue first in the Roslyn Hotel and now reportedly in Glen Cove. You can learn about the history of My Father’s Place on its Wikipedia page. Though small, the list of acts that graced its stage is mighty. Bruce Springsteen, Aerosmith, Blondie, the Police, Tom Petty and of course local Long Island favorite the Good Rats all performed there.
You can find the former location of the Stone Cellar on our Record Stores Map.
Jefferson Airplane was one of the quintestential 60s bands, and champions, with the Grateful Dead, of the San Francisco sound. Volunteers was the last harrah for the band’s original line-up. Both founder Marty Balin and drummer Skip Spence left the group soon after its release.
Here’s the Jefferson Airplane performing We Can Be Together from Volunteers. The video is a montage of the band performing the song, complete with concert goers. The audio is the track from the album, and not a live performance. It features the band’s three part harmonies, and Jorma’s stinging acid guitar. This was the first time I recall hearing a song using the words ‘fuck’ and ‘motherfucker’ without the censor demanding they be cut.
If any one who passes this way has more pictures of The Stone Cellar, please send them to me. I’ll add them to this post with gratitude.