By Tom Beaujour
For many riders, Sunday is the designated day to jump on our bikes and head out for adventure. Sadly, when planning a route, it usually can’t include a stop at a guitar store, as most such establishments are closed.
Not so with Teaneck, New Jersey’s Lark Street Music, which is closed Saturdays but all too happy to receive customers the remaining six days of the week. And so on this fine June Sunday, we point our loaner Triumph Thruxton 900, which we’ll be taking on a number of “Guitar Safaris” this month, north on the New Jersey Turnpike and open up the throttle. The wind whistles in our ears and the blacktop flies by as we settle back into the bike’s café racer-style seat, grip the low-slung handlebars and tuck in for the haul.
Lark Street owner Buzzy Levine opened the first incarnation of the shop in Albany, New York, in 1981 and moved the business south to this quiet little town just west of the George Washington Bridge in 1991.
“Albany was a good location because it was at the crossroads of people going from New York to Toronto and from Boston to Buffalo, but it’s not a very rich town, so there was often a lot more looking at guitars than buying,” Levine says. “Down here, though, when people see something they want, they can, and do, buy it.”
And at Lark Street, there’s always a lot to want. Levine is a dealer for Martin, Collings, Santa Cruz, National and Larrivée guitars, among others, not to mention VHT, Bogner, Orange and Tone King amps. Along with the new and cool, the shop has an amazing collection of vintage Martin and Gibson flattops, archtops galore, banjos, resonators, mandolins, amplifiers and a jaw-dropping selection of vintage Fender, Gibson and Gretsch electrics.
It’s almost too much to handle, and a Fender ’59 Custom Esquire with a stunning patina and perfect neck contour might just have left with us if we had had a trunk or back seat to put it in. Thank you Thruxton, for allowing us to leave empty handed!