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Eyewear Shop Hosts Performance Space for Musicians in Backyard

 Moscot, an eyewear shop on Court Street, hosts summer music performances in their back garden.
Moscot Music in Cobble Hill
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COBBLE HILL — Behind rows of thick-rimmed glasses that have come to define a Brooklyn sub-culture lays another tradition, which continues in the backyard of an old-school New York eyewear shop.

Moscot, a company that has sold glasses for almost a century, sees itself not just as a purveyor of spectacles but also as a gathering space for musicians.

Their Cobble Hill store, at 159 Court St., has been hosting music shows in their backyard for two summers now and, for over two years, at their East Village location, said Helena Ngo, Moscot’s music coordinator.

But people, on first reaction to the shows, commonly imagine bands performing while surrounded by spectacles, said Ngo.

The company’s unique connection with music comes from Dr. Harvey Moscot, president and fourth generation Moscot, who brought his own musical interest to the company after he joined in 1986.

Since he was 13 years old, Moscot has been playing the guitar and later, “while in Optometry school with other Optometric musicians!” he said, in an email.

A few years ago, on a rainy Saturday night, Moscot and another musician began to perform at their former space on Orchard and Delancey Streets, he said.

“People walked in, hung out for a while and seemed happy, and MOSCOT Music was born,” Moscot said. “It was entirely organic and completely unplanned.”

From rock to to hip-hop and singer-songwriters, various genres of musicians have played at Moscot, soon to include “Hellogoodbye,” a California-based band who will perform at the Court Street location on Aug. 17 at 3:00 p.m., in Moscot’s “Live from the Shop” series.

“I typically look for artists and bands that resonate with the brand's sensibility of staying original and true to self above all else,” said Ngo, adding that future performances have been planned for both the Lower East Side and Court Street locations.

The brand attracts “creative types,” from their staff members, some of whom are musicians and songwriters, to celebrity artists like Justin Timberlake, Kanye West, Moby, Train and Alicia Keys, who wear their products, said Moscot and Ngo.

“I wonder what it’s going to be like,” Andy Suzuki, who performed at the Brooklyn shop last year with his band “Andy Suzuki & The Method,” recalled thinking.

The Court Street backyard is a pebbled space that holds a small stage and wooden benches for audience members.

“It’s kind of a risk,” said Suzuki, who is 26.

But Moscot’s “strong connection with music” is known among local artists, which allows bands to “legitimize themselves” by playing for the company, said Suzuki.

The band had to strip down to four members and forgo a full drum kit, but Suzuki said he would definitely play the one-hour-and-fifteen-minute show again.

“It’s very different from a normal show."