I’ve flirted with buying Ork Records: New York, New York since it was first available for pre-sale ordering in 2015, but for whatever reason when push came to shove I always decided not to pull the trigger. The $85 price tag isn’t unreasonable – you’re getting four LPs and a 100+ page photo-filled hardbound book, so the value is certainly there. Of course on those occasions I didn’t see it in person, feel it in my hands, get the flip through that beautiful book. Had I done so, I probably would have owned a copy of this a while ago.
I ran across this in the used bin at a Seattle-area shop that will remain nameless to keep a cool employee from potentially getting into trouble. You see, I had few hours to kill so I was doing a lot of digging that day. I saw the box set almost immediately and was impressed with what I saw. The condition was great, and at $75 the price wasn’t out of line. When I wrapped up my searching I circled back around to the New Arrivals bin, grabbed it, and headed toward the counter. Before I got there one of the employees saw me carrying it and was stoked to see someone was buying it. As we were chatting another employee came by and also remarked he was glad to see it was finding a home. Then he asked, “hey, how much are we asking for that?” He looked at it, pulled out his price gun, and slapped a new price tag on it… for $60. As if that wasn’t awesome enough, when I got home I found the download card inside one of the sleeves and it still worked. Not a bad score at all.
The story of Ork Records and of this box set has been told in a number of other places with much more depth than anything I can tell you. I recommend the article in The Guardian HERE. The team at The Numero Group put in a ton of effort to make this thing a reality. Ork Records had been out of business for decades, its founder Terry Ork dead, and no clear indications as to who, if anyone, might own the rights to this stuff. So they had to contact every single band and artist involved. Plus write an entire 70,000 word book. It was quite an undertaking, and they did a magnificent job with it. The 49 tracks provide a sense of the punk scene percolating in New York at the time – you can check out the track list and give them all a listen HERE if you’re interested. And if you run across a physical copy… trust me, it’s well worth it.