Best record stores in NYC: Other Music, Academy Records and more

Listen up, audiophiles! Find cool crate-digging havens in our roundup of the top local record stores.

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  • Photograph: Alex Strada

    Academy Record Annex

  • Photograph: Caroline Voagen Nelson

    Black Gold

  • Photograph: Caroline Voagen Nelson

    Black Gold

  • Other Music

  • Other Music

  • Photograph: Daniel Givens

    Other Music

  • Permanent Records

Photograph: Alex Strada

Academy Record Annex


Discovering that rare LP in a brick-and-mortar music shop is a thrill you just can’t replicate online. (We know—we’ve tried.) Whether you’re a serious vinyl junkie or casual collector, you'll find plenty of exciting gems at these genre-spanning record stores.

RECOMMENDED: Best shops in NYC

Academy Records

The long-running New York institution’s flagship store, Academy Records and CDs (12 W 18th St between Fifth and Sixth Aves; 212-242-3000, academy-records.com)—next door to the tiny niche where it originated back in ’77—boasts the city’s best selection of used classical CDs and LPs, plus an impressive array of rock and jazz discs. The store also has an East Village location, Academy Records (415 E 12th St between Ave A and First Ave; 212-780-9166). Its branch across the East River (Academy Record Annex, 85 Oak St between Franklin and West Sts, Greenpoint, Brooklyn; 718-218-8200) specializes in vinyl, with both new albums and sharply picked old ones available at reasonable prices. Approachable help and knowledgeable buyers add to the overall experience. Plan to spend time—and money—at both locations.—Steve Smith

Black Gold

  • Price band: 2/4

How this small storefront manages to sell coffee, antiques and records without being a cluttered, cramped mess we’ll never know. For the latter, the tidy taxidermy-adorned space (peep the creepy hyena in the back) deals exclusively in vinyl—and leans toward primitive, hard stuff: garage-rock comps by the likes of Crypt and Norton Records, under-the-radar punk seven-inches. Keep your eyes peeled for rarities: Recently, we spotted the self-titled album by the Recoys, a group fronted by a pre-Walkmen Hamilton Leithauser. 347-227-8227, blackgoldbrooklyn.com—Tim Lowery

  1. 461 Court St between Luquer St and 4th Pl, Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn
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Co-op 87 Records

The selection at this cozy shop, which opened on a residential block in 2011, is small, sure. But the room is frequently filled with those strange and tough-to-find records—space-rock forebear Hawkwind’s Quark, Strangeness and Charm; long-out-of-print R&B collections—that remind you why in-person music browsing will always have a place in our online-shopping culture. Co-op 87 also stocks new offerings from trendsetting local indie labels like Captured Tracks, Mexican Summer and RVNG. 347-463-9997coop87records.tumblr.com—Andrew Frisicano

  1. 87 Guernsey St between Nassau and Norman Aves, Greenpoint, Brooklyn

Other Music

  • Price band: 2/4

This downtown fave opened nearly 17 years ago, across the street from a massive Tower Records. And who would’ve predicted that the megachain would close while Other Music thrives? Chalk it up to the store’s well-curated CDs and LPs, spanning a mishmash of genres including indie rock, electronic, jazz and experimental. (It also helps that since opening in the ’90s, it’s cultivated a passionate clientele.) Bonus: Other Music throws the occasional in-store performance, hosting buzzy artists like Iceage, Phosphorescent and Cults. 212-477-8150, othermusic.com—Amy Plitt

  1. 15 E 4th St between Broadway and Lafayette St
More info

Permanent Records

  • Price band: 1/4

This welcoming spot caters to music nerds of every budget, from penny-pinchers (used CDs, cassettes and records go for as low as a buck each) to big spenders (a first pressing of the Kinks’ 1965 Kinks-Size; $75). It’s well stocked with new releases by blogosphere-approved indie-rockers, and its soul, country and blues offerings are nothing to scoff at. (There’s even a section for the ace archival label Numero Group.) With a vinyl-listening station and friendly staff, prepare to dwindle away the better part of an afternoon. 718-383-4083, permanentrecords.info—Tim Lowery

  1. 159 20th St, 1B between Third and Fourth Aves, South Slope, Brooklyn
More info

Record Grouch

The name might have you expecting snooty treatment à la the Comic Book Guy in The Simpsons. But Record Grouch co-owner Doug Pressman is an amiable dude with a formidable used-LP trove, which touches on ’70s jazz, oddball European prog and metal—plus shelves’ worth of CDs and a magazine and indie-press book display. The shop used to live in the basement of a Williamsburg thrift shop; it relocated to a sunny Greenpoint space last spring, but worry not: The Grouch retains its lived-in, pack-rat charm. 718-389-0122, recordgrouch.com—Hank Shteamer

  1. 986 Manhattan Ave between Huron and India Sts, Greenpoint, Brooklyn


Users say

4 comments
Douglas
Douglas

It's pretty criminal that Heaven Street was left off the list. Best NYC record store hands down.

Douglas P
Douglas P

I can't believe you left off Heaven Street. The finest curated selection of new vinyl and used punk records in NYC.

Sriracha
Sriracha

Heaven Street in Brooklyn should have made this list as well.