Lists of record stores in New York City are often prefaced by eulogies about our ever-dwindling supply of brick-and-mortars committed to vinyl. But there are still many world-class record stores in this town, and with vinyl sales continuing to break records year after year, this is a time to be hopeful. Record Store Day is fast-approaching, and so whether you're looking to add to your already-massive stash or just get started with your first few LPs, here are 15 vinyl sanctuaries dedicated to the glory of analog sound.

CO-OP 87 (Scott Heins/Gothamist)

CO-OP 87: Visit this cozy 5-year-old neighborhood shop on a rainy day and you'll never want to leave. James Brown classics on the wall mark an excellent vintage soul section that's packed with Marvin Gaye and Aretha Franklin. The classics are where Co-OP shines, and you'll find so many pristine house singles and funk 45s along their back wall that it might be hard to know just where to begin. The shop also carries a nice selection of hip-hop 12"s and breakbeat compilations, some of which date back to 1983. Plus, there are so many boxes of disco, soul, and electro classics on the floor that you'll want to consider bringing knee pads to use as you dig through.

Co-Op 87 is located at 87 Guernsey Street between Nassau and Norman Avenues in Greenpoint, Brooklyn (347-463-9997,

Turntable Lab (Scott Heins/Gothamist)

TURNTABLE LAB: The name says it all. This East Village shop is a vital hotbed of musical experimentation and is packed with gorgeous stuff, from analog synthesizers to sleek turntables to piles of brand new house LPs. Turntable Lab makes it a point to stock nothing but the best, and while it's definitely not a place for bargain shoppers (save up a couple paychecks before you visit), the easy-going staff always make you feel welcome. Gear junkies will love their supply of mixers and synthesizers, and audiophiles will find plenty of top-notch 180 gram soul and reggae reissues to scoop up. If your listening tastes include both throwback funk and modern indie rock, or if you're looking for that must-have new hip-hop, downtempo, or electro album, you'll find it.

Turntable Lab is located at 120 East 7th Street between 1st Avenue and Avenue A in the East Village (212-677-0675,

Norman's Sound and Vision (Scott Heins/Gothamist)

NORMAN'S SOUND AND VISION: Recently relocated from the East Village, Williamsburg's Norman Sound and Vision is loaded with primarily new indie rock, punk, and dance cuts. You'll find plenty Sonic Youth, LCD Soundsystem, The Replacements, and Beach House, along with a stash of 60s and 70s rock running the gamut from Deep Purple to Iggy Pop.

Norman's keeps a few well-stocked discount bins up front, and their extensive jazz collection—which features less-obvious greats like Ben Webster and Coleman Hawkins—is along the left-hand wall. Farther back is a small library of country, and hiding in the back corner is a fantastic array of film soundtracks from all those classic foreign movies you really meant to watch but never did. One last tip: after you pay for your stack of records, stop in for a pork bun at M Noodle Shop just up the street.

Norman's Sound and Vision is located at 555 Metropolitan Avenue between Union Avenue and Lorimer Street in Williamsburg, Brooklyn (347-529-5532).

Human Head Records (Scott Heins/Gothamist)

HUMAN HEAD RECORDS: Boasting both new and used vinyl, East Williamsburg's Human Head is a relative newcomer to the city's record scene. But don't mistake youth for inexperience: owners Travis Klein and Steve Smith have set up an excellent operation. New stock is organized by arrival date, which makes it easy for the regulars to comb through and find gems, and used bins priced at $2, $3, $5, and $6 make it easy to keep within your budget. Classic rock, punk, metal, jazz, and latin are all well-represented, but in truth Human Head's selection of 12" reggae, soca, and hip-hop singles might be the main attraction. With 45s curated by DJ Sticky Dojah and a stock that's in constant motion, Klein and Smith have created a viable vinyl monster.

Human Head Records is located at 168 Johnson Avenue at Graham Avenue in East Williamsburg (347-987-3362,

Jazz Record Center (Scott Heins/Gothamist)

JAZZ RECORD CENTER: This is an improviser's nirvana. Once you walk in, you'll feel right at home with thousands of CDs, DVDs, books, and, of course, records that cover basically every major jazz artist that ever picked up an instrument. Owner Fred Cohen has been keeping the shop well-stocked and finely-curated for over 30 years, and the back room of records is an absolute jazz paradise, with albums by everyone from Miles Davis to Paul Gonsalves to Stan Getz to Max Roach to Grover Washington Jr. to Ornette Coleman to Ella Fitzgerald to Herbie Hancock get the idea.

Some of more prolific artists are even organized by record label; Coltrane's section has subdivisions for Prestige, Impulse, and Atlantic records. You can buy with confidence, given how carefully Cohen checks the condition of each record, and if you greet him with a smile he'll be happy to turn you on to a few unexpected gems, or maybe even open up his library of Downbeat and Metronome magazine back issues, which dates back to 1938.

Jazz Record Center is located at 236 West 26th Street between 7th and 8th Avenues, Suite 804, in Chelsea (212-675-4480,

The Thing (Scott Heins/Gothamist)


You haven't really dug for records in New York City until you've tackled The Thing. The vintage shop's collection tops 100,000 and has absolutely no organization. There are no sections, no divisions, no systems at The Thing—only crates upon shelves upon boxes upon tables of vinyl through which to comb. Another upside is each record is priced at $2, which means when you eventually strike gold it'll be an unbelievable deal.

"You don't come here to find what you're looking for, you come here to discover," store clerk and DJ Turtle Bugg said. The Thing is a shop where DJs can go to find things no one else will have (we're talking un-google-able house, soul, and funk), but it's also a place for vinyl beginners to get their start.

The Thing is located at 1001 Manhattan Avenue between Huron and Green Streets in Greenpoint, Brooklyn (718-349-8234).

Rock And Soul Records (Scott Heins/Gothamist)

ROCK & SOUL RECORDS: A Manhattan legend that's been going strong for forty years, Rock & Soul's vinyl operation occupies the back room in a space that's filled with stereo equipment, headphones, speakers, microphones, and other audio toys. But once you find the wax, you'll be in hip-hop heaven—Rock & Soul caters to rap both old school and new, and is flush with unused reissue/re-pressings from Nas, A Tribe Called Quest, The Roots, Outkast, and more. Then again, if old soul is what you're into, their selection of Curtis Mayfield and Marvin Gaye reissues is top-notch, and like any good shop, the floor is covered with disorganized, bursting boxes of classic rock and funk singles on 45.

Rock & Soul is located at 10 West 37th Street between 5th and 6th Avenues in Midtown (212-695-3953,

Earwax Records (Scott Heins/Gothamist)

EARWAX RECORDS: Quality trumps quantity at this Williamsburg stronghold. Small but incredibly-well-curated collections of electronica, psychedelia, avant-garde, and latin music are located by the door, and as you go back into hip-hop, soul, and rock the sections grow in size. There's also a fantastic batch of afrobeat Brazilian funk reissues.

But the most important aspect of Earwax is its human element, and store owner and DJ Fabio Roberti takes special pride in his avant-garde and Krautrock sections, which are always in tip-top shape. A section of beautiful (and nicely-priced) vintage stereos, amps, and turntables sit beside the counter, and the back wall shelves hold impossible-to-find 8-tracks and even an original Andy Warhol vinyl sleeve of The Velvet Underground & Nico. The banana cover peels off and it's absolutely not for sale.

Earwax is located at 167 North 9th Street between Bedford and Driggs Avenues in Williamsburg, Brooklyn (718-486-3771,

Rebel Rebel (Scott Heins/Gothamist)

REBEL REBEL: The Bowie name should be a dead giveaway that this one is a cavern of punk rock beauty. Rebel Rebel serves up the snarl in a West Village area that's grown awfully chic over the past few years, and its selection of low-priced U.K. punk, glam, and rock and roll is the real, hardcore deal. The only thing is, it's a ridiculously cramped shop, with stacks and piles of records (some of them with no sleeves) spilling all over the place. In a way, though, it's perfect. Rebel Rebel feels like a crowded, unruly rock concert and maybe that's what digging for punk rock vinyl is meant to be after all.

Rebel Rebel is located at 319 Bleecker Street between Christopher and Grove Streets in the West Village (212-989-0770).

Second Hand Rose (Scott Heins/Gothamist)

SECOND HAND ROSE: Yes, The Strand sits on the corner of 12th and Broadway, but the real legend of the neighborhood is Second Hand Rose, which has been going strong since the '60s and has the library to prove it. It might be a little dingy, but in there you'll find deals on first-pressings of 20th Century legends, and the front section labeled "Top 300 LPs of All Time" lives up to its claim. The rock section is a dream and the jazz section is massive. There's an R&B library bigger than some other shops' entire stock.

The rarities up on the wall include stuff like gold-stamped promos from Eric B. and Rakim, original Nigerian imports of Fela Kuti, Ray Charles on Japanese 45, and, during my last visit, the original TRON Soundtrack. You know you need that Tron in your life. Over on the other side of the shop the $5 and $10 bins always stock great material, and the world music sections from France, Brazil, and India are fleshed-out in a way that only a decades-old shop can provide.

Second Hand Rose is located at 48 East 12th Street between University Place and Broadway near Union Square (212-675-3735,

A-1 Records (Scott Heins/Gothamist)

A-1 RECORDS: This East Village vinyl institution has been a must-dig place for many years, and has its own small population of devoted regulars who visit multiple times a week, combing through the new-arrival bins. The walls are coated in stickers and show flyers for bygone punk bands and rappers, but luckily the music has survived. A-1's stock is almost entirely used and is always priced to move—it's almost impossible to spend more than five minutes in there and not hit upon something timelessly dope. A-1 is the real deal.

A-1 is located at 439 East 6th Street between 1st Avenue and Avenue A in the East Village (212-473-2870,

Other Music (Scott Heins/Gothamist)

OTHER MUSIC: Other Music has small jazz, soul, and hip-hop sections, but make no mistake: this is an indie rock shop, and its Pitchfork-approved selection is pretty damn excellent, in that respect. The shop is a convenient stop if you're near Union Square or NoHo and don't mind dodging NYU kids on your way in and out the door. If you like the (admittedly decent) vinyl selection at Urban Outfitters, then Other Music is going to be a nice step up.

Other Music is located at 15 East 4th Street between Astor Place and Broadway in NoHo (212-477-8150,

Good Records (Scott Heins/Gothamist)

GOOD RECORDS: Store-runner Ben keeps the selection at Good Records "super flossy," and both of its walls are lined with incredibly-well-priced jazz, rock, and rap rarities. Dig a little deeper (or just ask him for suggestions) and you'll find used LPs and singles full of those genres, along with experimental electronica, punk, and disco. Almost everything at Good Records is an original pressing, but rather than hoard the stuff and inflate prices, they keep things accessible and unpretentious. Bless them.

Good Records is located at 218 East 5th Street between 2nd Avenue and Cooper Square in the East Village (212-529-2081,

Bleecker Street Records (Scott Heins/Gothamist)

BLEECKER STREET RECORDS: Indie rock, punk, and classic rock are the main focus here, and you absolutely cannot afford to miss the basement's selection of used vinyl and rock n roll posters. The floor has plenty of great, weird 12" singles. Just about everything feels "just right" at Bleecker Street Records. After all, they've got an entire wall devoted to Elvis—you've gotta trust their judgment.

Bleecker Street Records is located at 188 West 4th Street between Jones and Barrow Streets in the West Village (212-255-7899,

MOODIES RECORDS: Moodies Records has been ruling as the crown jewel of NYC's crate-digging scene for decades, and that means you better not walk in the door unless you know your shit. Their staff is made up of brilliant, encyclopedic minds, but if they sense any posing, they won't even bother ringing up your picks. You'll walk out empty-handed.

On-air DJs during NYC's 80s radio heyday would make weekly pilgrimages to the Bronx shop every week to find records that no one else had, and Moodies' rotation of soul, funk, reggae, and classic jazz is one of the most sought-after in the world. This is the shop that Kool DJ Herc—the godfather of hip-hop itself—likes to hang out at, so stock up on some cash and school yourself, then take the 2 train pilgrimage to this hallowed shop.

Moodies is located at 3777 White Plains Road in the Bronx (718-654-8368,

Israel's Records (Scott Heins/Gothamist)


Our list would be even longer, were it not for the sad news that two of NYC's best independent vinyl shops are about to close. Israel's Records—a basement-level treasure that has no sign and no online presence, only a suit of armor outside promising RECORDS—is closing at the end of April. Before that happens, serious vinyl heads will want to check out its giant stash of low-priced soul and R&B LPs. The shop's owner, Israel himself, seeks out lesser-known artists and albums, trusting his customers to find deep cuts from funk groups that have long disappeared. Brooklyn sample-seekers and loop-diggers have been going to Israel's for ages, but sadly everyone only has a couple more weeks before the place shutters for good.

Israel's is located in a basement on Fulton Street between Franklin and Classon Avenues in Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn. Look for the suit of armor on weekdays after 2 p.m.

Deadly Dragon Sound System is also closing, and much sooner than Israel's. The LES hotspot for all things reggae is shutting down on Record Store Day, April 16th. Owner Jeremy Freeman has plans to find a new space, but that doesn't mean you shouldn't rush over there to pick up a rare dubplate or a couple of LPs before Saturday.

Deadly Dragon Sound System is open until Saturday, April 16th and is located at 102 Forsyth Street between Broome and Grand Streets on the Lower East Side. (646-613-0139,

HONORABLE MENTIONS: Generation Records, Academy Records, In Living Stereo, Rebel Rouser, Black Gold Records, Permanent Records, Rough Trade NYC

Finally, we asked some of Brooklyn's record store owners about their favorite in-stock records. Take a look at their own special stashes below.

Video by Jessica Leibowitz