With music sales collapsing due to the immediacy of the internet, the surviving record stores of New York City stand strongly as sonic sanctuaries. You might be able to download music for free, but you can’t pirate the feeling of digging through crates of records until the perfect vinyl reaches your fingertips. Record stores are some of the city’s best landmarks, and here are some of the best ones to check out. Whether you’re a DJ looking to add to your mix, a fervent Elvis collector, or you’re looking to pawn off your parents’ oldies for some cash, there’s a spot for you.
Active for 17 years, Generation Records has consistently been one of NYC’s best sources of rare CDs, vinyl, and merch. Generation specializes in metal and punk music, though you’ll find a variety of other genres in the two-story facility. You’ll even be able to catch the occasional in-store performance from some high-profile artists, so be sure to check their website frequently! 210 Thompson St. between w. 3rd and Bleecker St.
Founded in 2005, Good Records’ massive vinyl variety has landed the store in major publications such as The New Yorker, New York Magazine, and GQ. Good Records buys, sells, and trades everything from the 50’s to present day, as anything ranging from Blues, to House, to international music is fair game. Check it out if you feel like making some new discoveries, or just want to make some bank off of your old ones. 218 E 5th St.
Strider Records owner Bob Noguera has turned his lifelong passion for music into an internationally known business, with loyal customers everywhere from California to Europe. Strider serves as a mini-museum of musical history, boasting a bevy of rare rock, soul, and R&B records from music’s golden ages. The store is known for their extensive Elvis Presley collection, and is willing to go the extra mile to find some extra obscure records at your request. 22 Jones St.
Founded in 1977, Academy has been an NYC landmark for over 30 years. The musical counterpart to the famous Academy Book Store, Academy Records buys and sells everything from classical to pop, in addition to other goodies like CDs and DVDs. 12 West 18th Street.
Downtown Music Gallery is one of the best sources of hard-to-find records from more obscure genres such as Avant, Art-Pop, and Progressive. Their website boasts a huge, searchable library of over 40,000 records, so if you’re looking to scratch the more wild side of your vinyl itch, it might be time to head Downtown. 13 Monroe St, btwn Catherine and Market.