Though they seem to be a dying breed, there are many record stores, both newly opened and long-standing, carving their place in New York City right now. They provide music lovers not only with a place to purchase hidden gems, but with somewhere to gather and discuss music with other enthusiasts. Here’s our list of five awesome records stores in New York City.
This Latin music store was opened in 1941 in the South Bronx by Victoria Hernández. Her brother Rafael, an acclaimed composer, turned the record store into a gathering place for musicians. During these time of shifting in the Latin music industry, record store owners were the connection between budding musicians and record labels like Victor and Columbia.
In 1969 the store was sold to the son of a Puerto Rican composer and a talented composer in his own right, Miguel Amadeo. For about 50 years, it has been housed by the same apartment building and provided the community with artists such as Tito Puente, Celia Cruz and Héctor Lavoe (Amadeo has written songs for the last two).
Opened by Sommer Foster-Santoro and Jeff Ogiba, this record, antique, and coffee shop carries a collection of music enjoyed by the owners. According to Ogiba, the shop has many one-of-a-kind records in stock and aims to revive the feeling of discovering an artist. Their antique collection at their Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn location varies from furniture wares to a surprising amount of taxidermy animals, from the Victorian era to mid-century pieces. Customers are encouraged to browse and the coffee attracts a constant flow of patrons.
Academy Records, whose original store is located in Chelsea, is known for the savvy of its staff, a formidable collection of classical records, and according to NY Mag, its “musically fluent shoppers.” Opened in 1977 as a bookstore, Academy Records was transformed into a music collection by employee Joseph NaGun.
The Flatiron store is an unexpected find amidst the Chase, H&M and Zara located on the same block. They have an impressive collection of jazz, pre-classical, and classical, as well as a pretty solid movie selection there. If you are looking for hip hop, their East Village post is the better place to go.
Greenpoint seems to be the place to go if you are looking for the record; Permanent Records, Academy Records Annex, Record Grouch, Co-Op 87, and Captured Tracks are all in the neighborhood. Permanent Records, owned by Marjorie Eisenberg, has the welcoming atmosphere of Academy Records, but with enough space to occasionally act as a music venue. The roomier displays, however, still allow customers to enjoy the process of digging for just the right record.
At 15,000 square feet Rough Trade currently holds the title of largest record store in New York City. The space, which, according to Stereogum, was previously used as a prop warehouse for HBO, contains a sizable selection of records and books, a café, a music equipment store, a music venue that fits around 300 people, and an installation room.
The Williamsburg outpost of the popular London record store opened very recently in late November, with a performance by Sky Ferreira. The installation room currently houses a recreation of Childish Gambino’s bedroom. A Guardian Greenroom, right next to the ping pong tables, has polls set up for customers who wish to participate. Main Drag, a music equipment company, also has a place in the Rough Trade space.
The store is an arm of the London-based record label, which was behind the Smiths’ first four studio albums. Despite initial worries about competition, the mammoth-sized store seems to be succeeding in their aim to work well with the record stores already in the area.