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Founded1971; 52 years ago (1971)
  • Joseph Friedman
  • Rachelle Friedman
DefunctApril 9, 2014; 8 years ago (2014-04-09)
FateReopened as "J&R Express" and later closed
HeadquartersNew York City, New York
Number of locations
2 (April 2014; at time of main store closing)
ProductsRetail - Electronics
WebsiteLast snapshot of archives website (2016)

J&R was an online electronics and music retailer, based in New York City. It had a well-known retail location on Park Row in Civic Center, Manhattan, across from New York City Hall, from 1971 to 2014.[1] J&R stands for the founders Joe and Rachelle Friedman who established the company in 1971 after emigrating separately from Israel as young children.[2][3] The heavily trafficked store had expanded from selling LPs to eventually encompassing J&R Music World and J&R Computer World, selling everything from Blu-ray Disc players to the latest electronic gadgets.[4]

J&R also had a location at Columbia University, which closed in late 2002.[5] J&R later opened a J&R Express at the bottom level of Macy's Herald Square[6] in 2006,[7][8][9] and which was later closed in 2012.[10]


In 1971, 20-year-old newlyweds Joseph and Rachelle Friedman started J&R as a small consumer electronics store selling stereos and television sets in a 500 square foot store front at 33 Park Row[11][12] The couple saw it as a side project, selling TVs and stereos out of a 500 square foot store, as Rachelle studied at Polytechnic University (New York) in Brooklyn.[13]

After customers started to ask about obtaining music to play on their new stereos, J&R started to carry records and tapes. Computers, digital accessories and other electronics products followed. As it grew, J&R expanded into a series of adjacent storefronts on Park Row, so that the store stretched for nearly a full block by the mid-1990s, with each storefront providing entry to a different department. The large overall store was increasingly successful and crowded with customers.

A mail order division was started in 1974.[14] It was supported by a company owned warehouse located in Maspeth in Queens. Internet orders were later fulfilled from this location.

In 2006, J&R opened J&R Express, a 3,500 square foot store within a store inside the Macy's Herald Square store. The store carried MP3 players, digital cameras, computers, CDs, DVDs and cell phones. The store also accepted the Macy’s credit card as payment. The store was quietly closed in 2012. Macy's previously tried to sell consumer electronics at the same location with other outside vendors twice in the previous decade.[15]

In 2013, J&R consolidated into two buildings, ceding storefronts to new tenants and transforming into a vertical store.[13] After a disappointing 2013 holiday season, J&R settled about $15 million in outstanding vendor claims in February 2014.[16]

The 171,000 square feet (15,900 m2) company owned warehouse facility in Maspeth was listed on the real estate market beginning in October 2013.[17][18] In addition to left-over merchandise, warehouse and other processing equipment used by the company were auctioned off in late May and again in June.[19][20]

On April 9, 2014, J&R closed its Park Row store, with a redevelopment plan to be announced.[21][22][23][24] Remaining merchandise were liquidated through a two-day auction in the middle of May 2014.[25][26] On April 25, 2014, J&R's web site stated that the owners planned to "rebuild this location into what we hope will be an unprecedented retailing concept and social mecca", also stating that they "look[ed] forward to sharing more details of these changes in the coming months." The page included an artist's conception of what the location would look like.[27]

On August 12, 2014, J&R announced that they planned to open a 1,500 square foot J&R Express store inside the flagship location of the Century 21 Department Store in Manhattan by October 2014.[28][29] Twice magazine reported that the new store would have a format similar to that used by the store that was within Macy's Herald Square store and which closed in 2012.[30] Billboard Magazine reported that J&R planned to sell audio and video hardware, computers, and electronics, along with some music (including vinyl) and movies.[31] J&R Express at Century 21 opened in November 2014.[32] Sometime between May and June 2016, J&R ceased their business relationship with Century with J&R Express being last recorded on the Century 21 website in an Internet Archive snapshot of March 14[33] and in the snapshot of the J&R website of May 5.[34] By June 2, all mentions of J&R Express had been removed from both websites.[35][36]

Meanwhile, some of the buildings on Park Row that formerly housed J&R were demolished, starting in January 2016.[37] Other buildings, which were leased, were being redeveloped primarily for residential housing, such as the landmarked Park Row Building at 15 Park Row.[38][39] In April 2016, it was reported in the New York real estate press that J&R filed for a building permit to build a 53 story residential building on the demolished site.[40] By late 2018, the former 25 Park Row site had been replaced by a 50-story, 110-unit, luxury condo building with residential unit prices ranging from $1.7 million for one-bedrooms to about $7 million for four-bedrooms, or approximately $2,500 per foot ($8,200/m),[41][42] called 25 Park Row.[43] According to the Internet Archive, the jr.com website was taken down sometime between January 5[44] and January 17, 2017, when Network Solutions regained control of the website for resale.[45] The remaining website at http://jandr.com/ says, "Stay tuned for exciting updates..."

Online sales[edit]

With the main J&R location just a block from the World Trade Center site, the company lost millions of dollars of electronic equipment due to the September 11, 2001 attacks.[5] But, the company's growing online sales helped sustain the company. J&R had an Amazon Marketplace agreement with Amazon.com to sell merchandise through that channel, in addition to its own online store.[46] By May 6, 2014, the firm had closed down its website[47][48] but continued to sell through Amazon.com and eBay. J&R appeared to be liquidating its existing inventory via these marketplaces and did not show significant stock in major categories such as digital cameras. Both J&R storefronts on eBay and Amazon had ceased to offer any merchandise for sale by June 2014 after the series of liquidation auctions[19] had occurred at both the former Manhattan store and the Maspeth warehouse in Queens.


Since the summer of 2002, J&R had sponsored an annual music festival in City Hall Park, featuring R&B and other performers. In June 2007, Summerfest performers included Mario, Bobby Valentino, Tank, Carl Thomas, Collie Buddz, and Canadian Brass.[49][50]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "JR.com: About J&R". Archived from the original on February 5, 2012. Retrieved February 5, 2012.
  2. ^ Rosenberg, Joyce M. (September 4, 2003). "Small Businesses Struggle to Recover". Associated Press. Retrieved July 24, 2020.
  3. ^ Cave, Damien (August 28, 2004). "Preparing for the Convention: Snapshots; Who's Afraid of the Big, Bad Elephant?". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved July 24, 2020.
  4. ^ "JR.com: J&R In The News". Archived from the original on May 2, 2013. Retrieved May 2, 2013.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: unfit URL (link)
  5. ^ a b Iosifescu, Alice (February 11, 2003). "J&R Computer World Departs; Campus Location Is Still Empty". Columbia Spectator. Vol. CXXVII, no. 16. p. 1. Retrieved July 24, 2020.
  6. ^ Macy*s - Our Stores - Events - Events Archived May 15, 2006, at the Wayback Machine
  7. ^ Fleming, Kirsten (August 21, 2006). "J&R Store To Open In Macy's Flagship". New York Post. Retrieved July 24, 2020.
  8. ^ Lazarowitz, Elizabeth (August 22, 2006). "J&R Joins Forces With Macy's". New York Daily News.
  9. ^ Lazarowitz, Elizabeth (August 24, 2006). "A Grand Welcome For J&R". New York Daily News. Retrieved July 24, 2020.
  10. ^ O’Heir, Jeff (August 6, 2012). "J&R Closes J&R Express". Dealerscope. Retrieved July 24, 2020.
  11. ^ Luhby, Tami (February 3, 2001). "The Hits Keep Coming / J&R Music & Computer World thrives by satisfying its customers". Newsday. Retrieved July 24, 2020.
  12. ^ "J&R Electronics Inc. History".
  13. ^ a b Miller, Stuart (October 23, 2013). "J&R Alters the Blocklong Layout It's Known For". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved July 24, 2020.
  14. ^ Dioguardi, Kara (June 15, 1996). "The Product's In The Mail: Started As A Sideline, J&R's Mail-Order Division Has Sent Sales Soaring". Billboard. p. JR-10.
  15. ^ Wolf, Alan (August 6, 2012). "J&R Closes Macy's Express Shop, For Now". Twice.
  16. ^ Covert, James (April 11, 2014). "The music stops for J&R on Park Row". New York Post.
  17. ^ "Premier 1-Story Distribution Facility - 171,000 SQ FT; 58-75-59-21 Queens Midtown Expressway, Maspeth, NY 11378". Pinnacle Realty. Archived from the original on October 30, 2013. Retrieved June 22, 2014.
  18. ^ "59-21 Queens Midtown Expressway, Maspeth, NY, 11378 - Available for Sale". LoopNet. Archived from the original on June 21, 2014. Retrieved June 22, 2014.
  19. ^ a b "Public Auction Sale: HUGE QUANTITY WAREHOUSE & SHIPPING SUPPLIES - MASPETH, NY". AuctionZip. Archived from the original on June 21, 2014. Retrieved June 22, 2014.
  20. ^ "Exec Office Furniture / Workstations / Equipment / Supplies; Monday, June 23, 2014 at 11:30 AM; 59-21 Queens Midtown Expressway, Maspeth, NY 11378". ASM Auctioneers Inc. Retrieved June 22, 2014.
  21. ^ Furman, Phyllis (April 9, 2014). "J&R shutting down New York City electronics store". New York Daily News. Retrieved July 24, 2020.
  22. ^ Swarns, Rachel L. (April 13, 2014). "Saying Farewell to a Business That Turned Into an Identity". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved July 24, 2020.
  23. ^ Southall, Ashley (April 10, 2014). "J & R Closes Manhattan Store for a Redesign". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved July 24, 2020.
  24. ^ Kangas, Chaz (April 11, 2014). "J&R Music Abruptly Closes Its Doors". Village Voice. Retrieved July 24, 2020.
  25. ^ Bashan, Yoni (May 14, 2014). "Inventory Going, Going, Gone at J&R in Manhattan". Wall Street Journal. ISSN 0099-9660. Retrieved July 24, 2020.
  26. ^ Wolf, Alan (May 12, 2014). "J&R Auctioning Off Inventory". Twice. Retrieved July 24, 2020.
  27. ^ "JR.com: Park Row Redevelopment". Archived from the original on April 25, 2014. Retrieved July 24, 2015.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: unfit URL (link)
  28. ^ Covert, James (August 13, 2014). "Iconic J&R to re-open as boutique inside Century 21". New York Post.
  29. ^ "JR.com: J&R Forms Partnership with Century 21 Department Store". Archived from the original on August 24, 2014. Retrieved July 24, 2015.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: unfit URL (link)
  30. ^ Wolf, Alan (August 13, 2014). "J&R Returning As Department Store Boutique: New York – They're b-a-a-a-c-k". Twice.
  31. ^ Christman, Ed (August 13, 2014). "J&R Music World to Re-Open in October". Billboard. Retrieved July 24, 2020.
  32. ^ Gurfein, Laura (November 3, 2014). "J&R, Century 21 Bonded Over Pioneering Post-9/11 Retail". Racked NY. Retrieved July 24, 2020.
  33. ^ "Tech". Century 21. Archived from the original on March 14, 2016.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: unfit URL (link)
  34. ^ "J&R Express Now at Century 21". J&R. Archived from the original on May 5, 2016.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: unfit URL (link)
  35. ^ "Tech". Century 21. Archived from the original on June 13, 2016.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: unfit URL (link)
  36. ^ "Park Row Redevelopment". J&R. Archived from the original on June 2, 2016.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: unfit URL (link)
  37. ^ Brenzel, Kathryn (January 26, 2016). "L+M to demolish four retail buildings on Park Row: The FiDi site at 23-33 Park Row has more than 200,000 buildable sf". The Real Deal. Retrieved July 24, 2020.
  38. ^ Malesevic, Dusica Sue (July 2, 2015). "Block that housed J & R readies for next phase". Downtown Express. Retrieved July 24, 2020.
  39. ^ "Double Demolition on Park Row". Tribeca Citizen. June 15, 2015. Retrieved July 24, 2020.
  40. ^ Plagianos, Irene (April 18, 2016). "53-Story Tower Planned for Site of Former J&R Building". DNAinfo New York. Archived from the original on August 29, 2016. Retrieved July 24, 2020.
  41. ^ Warerkar, Tanay (October 29, 2018). "J&R-replacing Financial District skyscraper will have condos from $1.7M". Curbed NY. Retrieved July 24, 2020.
  42. ^ Hughes, C. J. (October 29, 2018). "A Former Downtown Music Mecca Becomes Condos". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved July 24, 2020.
  43. ^ "25 Park Row".
  44. ^ "Park Row Redevelopment". J&R. Archived from the original on January 5, 2017.
  45. ^ "Domain Available". Network Solutions. Archived from the original on January 17, 2017.
  46. ^ Wolf, Alan (November 22, 2004). "J&R Adds Retail Space As Web Sales Rise". TWICE. Retrieved July 24, 2020.
  47. ^ Wolf, Alan (May 6, 2014). "J&R Shuts E-Commerce Site". TWICE.
  48. ^ Briggs, Bill (May 7, 2014). "J&R Electronics unplugs its e-commerce site". Internet Retailer. Retrieved July 24, 2020.
  49. ^ "LIV WARFIELD TO PERFORM AT J&R SUMMERFEST: Singer to Take the Stage Along With Mario, Carl Thomas and More. J&R was located one block from the famous Pace University". Eurweb.com. June 14, 2007. Archived from the original on September 27, 2007.
  50. ^ "Fairs, Fests, Etc..." New York Post. June 15, 2007. Archived from the original on August 13, 2007.

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 40°42′41″N 74°00′27″W / 40.71139°N 74.00750°W / 40.71139; -74.00750