The Man Who Turns the Ruins of New York Into Music

07.12.12 Joshua Rivera

From the scraps of buildings that used to hold the people of New York, Rick Kelly makes music. From his shop, Carmine Street Guitars, Kelly has made a name for himself, crafting handmade guitars from the ruins of New York landmarks. And he’s attracted many famous musicians. For Lou Reed, he crafted a custom guitar from the Chelsea Hotel. For Bob Dylan, the Chumley’s speakeasy. Sometimes he picks the scraps himself, other times, his customers bring them to him. The guitars aren’t pricey for custom guitars–they run from $1500-2000–and Kelly only completes about four a month, making the wait list as long as a year. But those with money and patience get to carry a small part of this city with them, and make music from the buildings that were once filled with it.