On February 21, 2009, one of New York City’s more distinguished recording facilities, The Looking Glass Studios, closed its doors for good after 17 years. Although the home page noted that the studio, founded by the landmark composer Philip Glass, lay “at the crossroads of culture and commerce in New York City,” the ever-increasing cost-per-square-foot of renting in Manhattan became sufficient to upset that delicate balance.
The open and airy facility employed four full-time staff servicing a 48-input SSL 4000 G in Studio A and a Digidesign D-Command–centered Studio B. In addition to serving as a recording headquarters for Glass, the studio hosted a vast array of artists that included Beck, Bjork, Sheryl Crow, The Cure, Grace Jones, Lou Reed, Roger Waters and countless more ranging from high-profile to the outermost fringe.
“It’s a New York City real-estate issue: the lease is too expensive for what the recording industry will bear right now,” said Christian Rutledge, studio manager for The Looking Glass Studios, who noted that the rooms were fully booked when the decision to close was made. “This place was the center for a really wonderful and large community, and the emotional outpouring I’ve received from people hearing of our closing has been touching. There’s going to be a hole in the New York City musical landscape that I don’t think will be filled: We had a big, extended family that rotated around The Looking Glass.”