[This title kinda reminds me of the time my moms took a phone message for me about meeting some friends for a show at CBGB's--only she had misheard the name as Heebie Jeebies. Most decidedly not Pandora's Golden ones, though.]
FREEBEING RECORDS, 129 Second Avenue just south of St. Marks Place. Or was it Free Being? I've seen the name of this late, lamented '70s/'80s record shop spelled both ways. According to the aforementioned Mike Fornatale, it "was one of the few places buying/selling used LPs in 1972...(sigh)...those were the days!" I recently rented the DVD of The Nomi Song--a required-viewing elegy for both a man and an era gone by--and among the many excellent extras is a brief "slide show" of some of director Andrew Horn's fave old East Village haunts. To a photo of Freebeing's front sign, he narrates as follows:
I think this was the first record store that I can remember where I started noticing the first sort of independently produced records. There was a point at which the bands at that time started realizing that for a few hundred dollars you could press your own record, and suddenly there was this explosion of records all over the place. And every week or every day [the store] would paste the new single that had just come out in the door, and the door would be full of all these singles. And I think this is the first place where I ever saw the B-52s single and the Elvis Costello.
Some other customer recollections are available here, here, here, and here, but unfortunately they have more to do with records found there than with the vibe and appearance of the store itself. I visited the store a few times as a tentative teenybopper during my earliest solo East Side expeditions (only after fully exploring the Greenwich Village frontier was it finally time to venture beyond Broadway's DMZ). Can't recall any specific items I bought, but I do remember the shop as a loud, crowded, lively hive of frenzied record-flipping activity. I'm not sure when it closed down, but ISTR a San Loco taco stand appearing in its stead by the late '80s. If I'm not mistaken, around that same time there was a record shop on Carmine Street calling itself Freebeing--but I may have the name wrong, and even if I am correct it may not have been a new location for the original. [Despite my iffyness about the Carmine St. shop's name, I can clearly recall how overjoyed I was upon finding a mint vinyl copy of the Jam's All Mod Cons there during my big 1988 Paul Weller phase.]
Since I never got into Friends I haven't seen this, but apparently one of the storefronts near Central Perk was named Free Being Records in honor of executive producer Kevin Bright's fond memores of the shop. As for the real storefront, it is currently home to Cinderella Falafel.
UPDATE 7/20/2006: Just found out that The Big Takeover's Jack Rabid worked there in the mid-'80s.
UPDATE 11/1/2010: This photo was recently posted to the NY Rocks Facebook group--a portion of the store's sign is visible in the center.
Also, quite a while back I located some ads in the 1971 Voice which revealed that the store was originally called Silverlight. Here's one example, from the 7/29/71 issue.