Because we live in a dystopian capitalistic hellscape that values sheer profit potentials over things that are like, actually valuable, Other Music announced it will be closing its doors in a move that preempts the store’s eventual demise. Okay, so a lot of this has to do with the fact that people don’t really buy music in physical form anymore, but still–end of an era! Instead of moping around about the inevitable, though, we’ve decided to count our blessings: Here are 15 record stores still selling vinyl, cassettes, and other soon-to-be-obsolete forms of physical music.
Greenwich Village/East Village
Bleecker Street Records:188 West 4th Street
Though Bleecker Street Records is no long on Bleecker Street itself (thanks, Marc Jacobs), it soldiers on in a new location on West 4th. Originally opened in 1997, the shop moved about three years ago to a new storefront, and continues to offer a plethora of vintage and out-of-print vinyl that will pique the interest of any avid collector, or those who have just begun to explore the wonderful world of collecting.
Generation Records:210 Thompson Street
Another brick and mortar shop just on the outskirts of Greenwich Village, Generation Records leans more toward the punk and heavy metal side of things. That doesn’t stop them from selling band stickers, movie posters, and plenty of music-related films, documentaries and concert videos. Head downstairs for the vinyl, stay for the feline companions. You can’t pet a record store cat while shopping on Amazon or eBay, now can you??
Turntable Lab: 120 E 7th Street
Turntable Lab opened its doors in the East Village in 2001, and aside from offering a comprehensive selection of gear for DJs and producers, it has also managed to employ quite a handful of them! The website proudly boasts that the likes of Nosaj Thing and The Gaslamp Killer have manned their counters, and their shop’s focus remains relentlessly loyal to DJ culture. But, there’s plenty of other loot here too–aside from music they offer products from the realms of design, gadget, skateboarding and clothing. And if you absolutely need to shop online, they’ve got you covered there as well.
Human Head Records:168 Johnson Avenue
While rents in Manhattan skyrocketed and Greenwich Village morphed from a haven for artists into a super-elite outdoor mall of sorts, Brooklyn began to take over as the center of youth and music culture. You know all this, right? But did you know about Human Head Records just off the Montrose Avenue L stop? (You can also take the G and walk from Broadway, if you must). Every day from 12 PM — 8 PM this place opens up shop to sell new and used vinyl, take your old collections and give you cash if you’re broke, and otherwise meet all your record-related needs.
Vinyl Fantasy:194 Knickerbocker Avenue
Vinyl and comics go together like James Blake and Bon Iver, so it’s not surprising that Vinyl Fantasy popped up in deep Bushwick to provide a place for all the nerds in all of Brooklyn to geek out over both at the same damn time. The tiny store opened in late 2013 and has flourished alongside Bushwick’s quickly-gentrifying influx of young art-obsessed people, who are still willing to shell out a few hard earned dollars on books, movies, and music that means the world to them.
Co-Op 87:87 Guernsey Street
Personal anecdote time: this is my favorite record store in New York. One day my brother and I rode our bikes here, got coffees, found a bunch of great records, and then sat and talked for hours. It was a perfect Brooklyn day. But part of the reason it was so good is because the guys at Co-Op 87 treated us with such care and respect. They listened to my brother’s questions, and answered them carefully, they pointed us toward other records we might like based on our tastes. They made the store seem like a safe, welcoming place, and not one manned by evasive know-it-alls (no shots). They offer new and used vinyl and cassette tapes (!), and they also buy vinyl if you’re in the mood to sell. Go here, you’ll never regret it.
Earwax Records:167 N 9th Street
This record store has been open in Williamsburg since before anyone I know ever thought taking the L across from Manhattan might be a feasible daily commute. No, seriously, Earwax has been open since 1990! (I was two, for context.) Anyway, their history isn’t the only thing that gives this shop cred, their selection of new and used vinyl and 7-inches, along with a wide selection of turntables, receivers, amps and speakers makes it a one-stop shop for music lovers and musicians alike.
Halcyon:74 Wythe Avenue
Halycon is one of the stores that came to be in the kind of organic way that seems almost impossible these days. Back in 1999 a group of friends who loved listening to and discussing music together opened a storefront with comfy couches, served coffee and alcohol, and serve as an independent space for those who loved electronic music and DJ culture. As Williamsburg went through the various stages of gentrification, the space has moved and shifted, but the loving heart beating behind this shop has continued to pump–and they still continue to sell records both at the new location and online.
Academy Record Annex + The Original Academy Records & CDs + The East Village Location:83 Oak Street, 415 E 12th Street and 12 West 18th Street
This Brooklyn offshoot of the venerated Academy Records is a convenient place for residents who want to avoid schlepping up to Flatiron or over to the East Village. The annex originally opened up in Williamsburg in 2004, and is now located in Greenpoint, but even that lengthy twelve years barely holds a candle to the original location, which has existed in some form since 1977. Whether you’re shopping at the Brooklyn offshoot or the Manhattan outpost, there are books, CDs, and records from all eras to be found.
Captured Tracks Record Exchange:195 Calyer Street
This store’s ties to a local label make it a two-for one when it comes to supporting the musical community here in Brooklyn. They carry music from their own artists, sure, but also new and used vinyl and cassettes out of the basement location.
Park Slope/Carroll Gardens
Black Gold Records:461 Court Street Combining vinyl and coffee seems like a no-brainer, but few places do it better than the little apothecary-themed Carroll Gardens shop Black Gold Records. While you’re waiting for a thick cup of joe, check out the surreal taxidermy in the back and browse through the extensive collections of funk, jazz, R&B and soul that lurk in the front of the store. They also sell antiques and occasionally host pop up live performances, so if you live in the area, keep an eye on this place. It’s a hub for all things ancient and admirable.
Fifth Avenue Record & Tape Center: 439 Fifth Avenue
This record store has existed in some form since 1972, which should be enough to make you head down there right now and buy a cassette to make sure they stay in business for the rest of the year. Although the shop almost faced closure due to the same old rent story back in 2014, they made it through, and are still open every day. Aside from vinyl and tapes, the store also offers other outdated forms of physical media: VHS tapes, eight-tracks, and (gasp) CDs! Next time you’re in the area, pop in and try to get owner Tony Mignone to tell you some stories about old Brooklyn.
Permanent Records:159 20th St #1b
Owner Marjorie Eisenberg once described Permanent Records as “a speakeasy for records,” and it almost seems fitting to leave it at that. The store originally opened up in Long Island, but has since migrated from to Greenpoint, and finally, Greenwood (which is in the South Slope area). The place carries “ultra rare” records that can run over $1,000, but it also has standard $1 crates for sifting through.
Sideman Records:88 S Portland Avenue
One record store is never enough, right? Though Captured Tracks have their own store (see below), label guru Mike Sniper has opened another offshoot in Fort Greene. The record store opens into Person of Interest, a chic, high-end barber shop in the area, doubling down on the neighborhood factor and carefully combining two artistic endeavors.