Kim's Video and Music

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Boarded up store in 2009

Kim's Video and Music was a video and music retail store in the East Village of Manhattan, New York City, described as the "go-to place for rare selections"[1] and "widely known among the cognoscenti of new, experimental and esoteric music and film".[2] Its owner was Yongman Kim.


The store opened at the site of Kim's dry-cleaning business, and eventually moved to its own location on Avenue A in 1987. It expanded to five other locations, including St. Mark's Place (Mondo Kim's) in the East Village, Kim's Underground at 144 Bleecker Street (on Laguardia Place), Kim's West (350 Bleecker Street & West 10th Street), and Kim's Mediapolis (2906 Broadway). By 2008, it had over 55,000 rental titles, many of which were rare or esoteric.

The original Avenue A location closed in 2004.[3][4] Mondo Kim's, to a lesser extent, also had a reputation for "ornery" service.[5]

In June 2005, police raided Mondo Kim's, alleging they were selling bootlegs.[6][5]

In September 2008, Kim announced he would be closing Mondo Kim's and giving away the film collection to anyone who could fulfill certain criteria, stipulating that the entire collection was to be taken intact and that Kim's members would continue to have access to the collection wherever it resided. In December 2008, it was reported that the town of Salemi, Sicily had made a successful bid for the collection, as part of a village restoration effort.[7][8][9] In 2012, a Village Voice article entitled "The Strange Fate of Kim's Video" reported that the collection, though remaining intact, had essentially disappeared from public view after arriving in Salemi, and that the initiatives promised by Kim and the government of Salemi remained unfulfilled.[10]

The last remaining location of Kim's Video & Music, located on 1st Avenue, announced its closure on April 21, 2014.[11]

On April 1, 2022, filmmakers David Redmon and Ashley Sabin, with assistance from Yongman Kim and Tim League, brought the Kim's Video St. Mark’s Place movie collection back to New York City, after 12 years of being stored in Salemi. Redmon and Sabin chronicled this in their 2023 movie Kim's Video.[12][13][14] Kim's Video & Music was relaunched as Kim's Video Underground with the help of the Alamo Drafthouse theater chain. The new store is located in the lobby of Alamo's Lower Manhattan location in the Financial District of Manhattan. The store also now offers 5-day rentals for free.[15]

Notable employees[edit]

Kim's was known for its staff,[16][17] who were described by The Awl as "legendarily knowledgeable and haughty."[17] Some of its employees later went on to successful careers in film, music, and the arts.[16]


  1. ^ Johnston, Lauren (30 December 2008). "East Village icon Kim's Video heads to ... Sicily". Daily News (New York). Retrieved 31 March 2009.
  2. ^ Lueck, Thomas (10 June 2005). "Police Raid Video Store in East Village in Piracy Case". New York Times. Retrieved 31 March 2009.
  3. ^ Schmidt, Sarah (17 October 2004). "The Customer Was Always Right? Not at Kim's Video on Avenue A". The New York Times. Retrieved 7 May 2010.
  4. ^ Chung, Jen (18 October 2004). "Kim's Video Closes Its "Mean" Location". Gothamist. Archived from the original on 4 February 2009.
  5. ^ a b Lueck, Thomas J. (10 June 2005). "Police Raid Video Store in East Village in Piracy Case". The New York Times. Retrieved 7 May 2010.
  6. ^ Sylvester, Nick (14 June 2005). "Untold Story of Mondo Kim's Raid". Village Voice. Archived from the original on 2008-08-03.
  7. ^ Hollander, Sophia (8 February 2009). "La Dolce Video". The New York Times. Retrieved 7 May 2010.
  8. ^ Capone, John (2 January 2009). "Say Ciao to Kim's Video". NBC New York.
  9. ^ Johnston, Lauren (30 December 2008). "East Village icon Kim's Video heads to ... Sicily". Daily News. New York.
  10. ^ Longworth, Karina (12 September 2012). "The Strange Fate of Kim's Video". The Village Voice. Retrieved 12 September 2012.
  11. ^ "Kim's Video & Music closing its 1st Ave location". Brooklyn Vegan. 21 April 2014. Archived from the original on 23 April 2014. Retrieved 21 April 2014.
  12. ^ Cohn, Gabe; Powell, Adam (2022-03-31). "Kim's Video Is Back. What Even Is a Video Store in 2022?". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2024-01-13.
  13. ^ Kohn, Eric (2022-04-06). "Kim's Video Survives at Alamo Drafthouse Alongside the Story of the Filmmaker Who Owns the Collection". IndieWire. Retrieved 2024-01-13.
  14. ^ "Kim's Video | Sundance Film Festival". Retrieved 2024-01-13.
  15. ^ Salter, Jake (1 April 2022). "Kim's Video Is Back In NYC!". Alamo Drafthouse Cinema. Retrieved 1 April 2022.
  16. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m The Story of Kim’s Video & Music, Told By Its Clerks and Customers. Bedford and Bowery.
  17. ^ a b O'Connor, Brendan. Who Killed Kim's Video? The Awl.
  18. ^ Sara Stewart (October 10, 2004). "WORKING CLASS – DIRECTOR DYLAN KIDD WON'T QUIT THIS DAY JOB". New York Post. Retrieved 2022-08-23.
  19. ^ Tinkham, Chris. Kate Lyn Sheil's Video Past and Netflix Future. Interview'.'
  20. ^ "reRunning Happy Life". Talkhouse. Retrieved 2022-08-23. we both worked at Kim's Video on St. Marks
  21. ^ "Toe Hoes". 6 November 2019.
  22. ^ The War on Pinball (1948) w/ Harry Siegel, 2022-03-06, retrieved 2022-03-06

Further reading[edit]