diggin’ in NYC -Top 5 record shopsOctober 15, 2012
going, going but not yet gone
since 2003, at least 80 record stores have closed in Manhattan and Brooklyn. And still more are closing every month at an alarming speed. It seems like the good old record shop is becoming a dying breed in NYC.
Today’s post is a personal Top 5 of the approximately 50 or so still open. It is always wise and advised to call before you go. Take a good map and your best walking shoes. Thanks to MP Flapp for his invaluable help and list.
1. A1 Records 439 E 6th St NY -1st Ave (between 6th & A Avenue)
ace shop for jazz/disco/boogie/hip hop. New arrivals every day.
Famous amongst DJ’s/producers and diggers looking for breaks & beats. Huge selection of cheap records in most genres. If you’re lucky you will find some vintage African records and Island music at affordable prices.
2. Academy Records -415 E 12th St. NY (between 1st Ave & Ave A) -(212) 780-9166
this is how a ‘real’ recordshop should be run -well stocked prime vintage vinyl in great condition and new re-issues in all genres -from psych to jazz with a handsome selection of Latin and African. There’s a mouthwatering collection of rare original disco/boogie 12” on display.
Don’t forget to check the boxes with 45 rpm 7” that are reasonably priced. Some great finds here. The new arrivals section is extensive and the staff friendly and knowledgeable. There are good listening posts.
Recommended and a personal fave.
There is also Academy Annex, a sister shop in Brooklyn -96 N 6th St. Brooklyn (718) 11211 -change trains at Union Square for L-Train going to Brooklyn and stop at Bedford Avenue. Walk down a few blocks to the shop.
Academy Annex Brooklyn is a major digger’s paradise! It has a huge new arrivals section and a lot of turnover. BIG selection of psych, punk, soul, disco, African, Latin vinyl on LP,12” (classified by label/genre) and 45’s -mostly contempory re-issues with some vintage vinyl mixed in. Do check their 1$ bins for some serious bargains. You can also pick up free boxed sets of vinyl for the die-hard collector. You will see these been sold near the subway!!!
3. Good Records 218 E 5th St (betweeen 2nd and 3rd Ave), NY (212) 529-2081
run by a true lover of rare quality vinyl who is also active on Waxidermy. This smallish shop is an example of how a record shop has adapted itself to the changing times.
Specialist selection of mainly black music. The disco 12” section is a marvel, you’ll be able to pick up original gems here at very reasonable prices. During my time here, an original copy of ‘Is It All Over My Face’ by The Loose Joints on Westend Records was snatched up just before my eyes for 18$….grrrr. Oh well, enough choice here. There’s a few boxes of rare and cheap 45’s for a 1$. The selection of vintage and contemporary re-issues of African and Latin is excellent. Nice vibe and the owner gives good deals too.
Well recommended shop!
While in the neighbourhood do check out V Bar St Marks -132 First Ave NY (212) 473-7200. http://www.VBAR.net
An ideal place to chill and wash down a dusty digger’s throat with some imported and local beers, cocktails too. Lots of musicians, DJ’s and alternative people hanging out in a lively funky atmosphere. V Bar also serves food and the best music in town can be heard on the stereo and sometimes live on a tiny stage.
4. Mercer Street Books and Records 206 Mercer St, NY. (212) 505-8615
mainly a bookstore with a handsome section of original vintage vinyl on LP. Reasonably priced selection of jazz/pop/rock in all genres. The 1$ bins are worthwile for the VG+ digger.
5. Princeton Record Exchange 20 South Tulane St. Princeton NJ (609) 921-0881
the total trip to Princeton Record Exchange-including local transfer-takes 90 minutes or less from Penn Station, Manhattan (34th St. and 8th Ave). Take the New Jersey Transit ‘Trenton Local’ to Princeton Junction. Switch to the New Jersey Transit shuttle train -the ‘Dinky’- to the centre of Princeton. When you walk out of the station, walk to the right onto University Place, go right into Nassau St., pass one light and turn left into S. Tulane St.
Or take a taxi from either Princeton Junction or Princeton train station directly to ther store.
Difficult? Out of the way? Not really. It’s a relaxed all-day railway voyage out of the hustle and bustle of Manhattan and believe me, the store is well worth the trip!!
The new arrivals section is HUGE, there is a GREAT selection of rock/jazz/african/latin mostly vintage vinyl in fine condition + contemporary re-issues and a wall-to-wall selection of CD’s and DVD’s. The $ 1.00 bins are well recommended as well as the big selection of original 45’s.
During my visit I noticed a few English and Japanese buyers hoarding up stacks of rare vinyl to re-sell in their own stores overseas. A well recommended address to score reasonably priced stock. Unfortunaly no listening posts.
While in Manhattan I stayed at the POD Hotel 230 E 51 St (212) 355.0300. www.thepodhotel.com. Reasonable prices and one of the best small hotels located mid-town, close to the Lexington Ave subway for the 6 line.