Guide to Record Shopping in NYC and Brooklyn

New York City is a great place to shop for vinyl with dozens of independent vinyl-only shops concentrated downtown and in Brooklyn. From years of browsing and digging, I’ve found that each shop has its own personality and its best to get into the flow of each place to find something interesting. EAST VILLAGE

Gimme Gimme Records 325 East 5th Street New York, NY 212.475.2955 Myspace Profile

Dan Cook always stocks some good stuff –Low key and unpretentious; almost always some good titles in excellent condition at more than fair prices, what more do you want? Open only on (sometimes Thursday night), Friday, Saturday and Sunday 'til around 10PM.

Broad range from country, blues to 12 inches and punk. A solid section for most tastes.

Good Records NYC 218 East 5th St. New York, NY 10009 212-529-2081 www.goodrecordsnyc.com

A small and tidy shop that opened a few years ago across from Mama's Restaurant and later moved to a larger spot on 5th Street. I've only been here once but found them to have a concentrated collection of nice records at fair prices.

Tropicalia In Furs 304 East 5th St New York, NY 10079 (212) 982-3251 www.tropicaliainfurs.com

Cool little shop run by Joel Oliviera. Interesting place to look for foreign picture sleeves and Brazilian music plus moderate sections of jazz, soul and rock/psych.

Exotic incarnations of Psych Rock 45’s and Brazillian LP's.

Good photo essay on Joel here.

Academy Records 415 E. 12 St. New York, NY 10009 212.780.9166 www.academy-records.com

Great bread and butter shop with nice people, lots of turnover on inventory and a broad scope of music. The wall usually has some nice rock, soul and jazz records. Academy should be a first stop for jazz collectors, as that’s the bulk of their inventory and usually have original pressings, Japanese and French issues and domestic second pressings.

Check the sizable new arrivals bins for fresh and affordable picks.

Turntable Lab 120 East 7th Street New York, NY 10009 212.677.0675 www.turntablelab.com

A good, no-hassle place to buy gear, needles, bags and more at prices lower than the big guitar stores. Check out the website for a well organized list of inventory with prices and reviews.

Big City Records 521 East 12th St. NY, NY 10009 212.539.0208

Off-shoot of Sound Library - Still a DJ and producer shop with Rare Groove soul, sample/drum records and jazz. Place to go for hard to find goodies. Prices in line with rarity but fair. A-1 Records 439 E. 6th Street New York, NY 10009 212.473.2871

Crate-diggers paradise with tons of grungy hip-hop vibe, large inventory geared towards DJ’s but good things can be found in the rock, blues and international sections sometimes. Be wary of some LP’s that come in kinda beat up.

Other Music 14 East 4th St. New York, NY 212.477.8150 www.othermusic.com

A venerable fixture in the downtown indie-rock scene, Other Music concentrates on new and experimental music and has a small used LP section. Place to go for latest indie vinyl releases and the walls sometimes have interesitng finds in Psych, Avant Garde Jazz and Experimental music. 

Downtown Music Gallery 13 Monroe Street New York, NY 10002-7351 212.473.0043 www.downtownmusicgallery.com

Main focus is experimental Downtown jazz and Avant Garde music. Carries CD's and vinyl and also run their own label.

Rockit Scientist Records 33 St. Marks Pl. New York, NY 10003 212.242.0066 myspace page

Rockit Scientist is one of the remaining semi-cranky East Village fixtures. It's about as much record store as you can cram into a basement level nook on St. Marks place. Records bust out of the bins and climb up the wall onto the ceiling, don’t lose your balance. Lots of out-of-print UK soul and blues comps and the occasional original treasure.

WEST VILLAGE and SOHO

Sound Library 165 Orchard St. New York, NY 10002 212.460.4800

Specialized shop for DJ's and producers, I haven't seen the Orchard St. Location but they always had good stuff.

Mercer Street Books & Records 206 Mercer St. New York, NY 10012 212.505.8615 www.mercerstreetbooks.com

A second hand book store with some records, mostly rock and jazz. A worthwhile place to flip through, you probably won’t find anything that out of the ordinary, but for the most part the vinyl is clean and priced on the lower end. Good stuff may turn up at random and you will probably be able to pick up some cheap staples.

Generation Records 210 Thompson Street New York, NY 10012 212.254.1100 myspace page

Primarily a CD store known for its selection of hardcore, punk and metal. Down in the basement level is a moderate selection of used vinyl, plus a large bin of new pressings. This is another good place to pick around for the random record. There were some interesting records displayed on the wall (Jazz, Soul and Psych, British Invasion, etc.) at fair prices. Sister Store to Bleecker St. Records

Bleecker St. Records 239 Bleecker St. NY, NY 10014 212.255.7899

On the top floor eagle-eyed collectors crane their necks to scan the ridiculously high record display that sometimes has some good stuff, usually priced on the high side. Little dayglo handwritten signs explain the provenance of each piece. Wall features folk, vocalists, 50's and 60's rock and other genre's that have gone out of fashion with most collectors. Downstairs is all vinyl, sometimes original sealed LP's get mixed in with contemporary reissues.

Bleecker Bob’s 118 West 3rd Street New York, NY 10012 (212) 255-7899 www.bleeckerbobs.com/

Legendary or infamous depending on who you talk to, this shop of 30 years gets written off quickly as a tourist trap. From personal experience, I believe the place has more to offer. A boggling array of categories and sub categories makes it a bit difficult to flip through, but it tells me that the store is held together by musical knowledge and not just shlockery. Good place for 45s, they got boxes of every conceivable genre, just ask at the counter.

Strider Records 22 Jones St. New York, NY 10014 212.675.3046 www.striderrecords.com

One of the dying breed of old-school record shops, Bob Noguera has been running this place for almost 30 years, the pricing hasn’t kept up with current trends but I don’t think he means anything shifty by it. Worth a peek inside, if you can fit.

Housing Works Used Book Cafe 126 Crosby Street New York, NY 212.334.3324 www.housingworks.org/usedbookcafe/

This is a great organization that sells used books, cd's and records, profits going 100% to AIDS and HIV programs. They have small, tidy used LP section in a beautiful space in Soho. Worth stopping in for the random records, the atmosphere and the cause.

BROOKLYN

Academy Annex 96 N. 6th St. Brooklyn, NY 11211 718.218.8200 www.academyannex.com

Similar approach to the original Academy in the city with frequently refreshed new arrivals and broad inventory, just a lot bigger and a bit more “williamsburgy” with less emphasis on jazz and more on rock, soul, dj stuff and reissues.

Halcyon 57 Pearl St. Brooklyn, NY 11201 718.260.9299 www.halcyonline.com

Typically not much for the collector, but a good resource for the DJ. I do miss the old spot on Smith St. that was a cafe, used furniture shop and great hangout.

Earwax Records 218 Bedford Ave Brooklyn, NY 11211-3234 718.486.3771

Sound Fix Records 110 Bedford Avenue Brooklyn, NY, 11211 718.388-8090 www.soundfixrecords.com

Fills a similar role as Other Music in the city, Sound Fix is a community center for indie rock. Not a lot of vintage vinyl but a good hangout.

The Thing 1001 Manhattan Ave Brooklyn, NY 11222 The Thing on Myspace

Digger’s rite of passage - catacombs of to the ceiling crates in a smelly basement in Greenpoint. Bring a dust mask, seriously. The truth behind the Thing is that this is where A-1 sends most of their junky stuff to be sold off by the pound. Great bizarro atmosphere.