J&RConnected PR counselor Matthew Hiltzik is handling the shutdown of the legendary J&R electronics/camera/music store in downtown Manhattan.

The retail institution opened in 1971in a 500-sq. ft. basement as a music shop and closed as a sprawling retailer with storefronts on Park Row between Beekman and Ann Streets.

J&R customers lamented its loss in the New York Times today, saying the shutdown is part of the real estate development wave in Manhattan that is turning rapidly vanishing “mom & pop” retailers into soulless glass condos for the affluent, a Duane Reade or bank.

Hiltzik, who once ran the U.S. arm of Britain’s Freud Communications, now heads Hiltzik Strategies.

He was also senior VP for corporate communications/government relations at the Weinstein Brothers' Miramax Films and press secretary for the New York State Democratic Committee.

J&R owners Joe and Rachelle Friedman posted a note to customers on the store's website.