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Unlike neighboring boroughs, Brooklyn is not short on vinyl suppliers. One could even say, Brooklyn record stores are doing the heavy lifting of keeping the exchange alive in a former Mecca for vinyl collectors and general hobbyists. But as NYC rents continue a perpetual decades-long ascent, their ranks have thinned. And we’ve suffered some pretty crushing casualties along the way (R.I.P. Israel’s, Charlie’s, and a dozen more.)

Make no mistake, though. What remains of Brooklyn’s vinyl traders is an embarrassment of breadth compared to what’s left of Manhattan’s once-prized roster, which has been whittled down to just a handful of shops over the last 15 years. Those that endured have either deepened their niches, locked in a market-defying lease, or, against the odds, managed to come up with some combination of both. And the survivors comprise what is arguably still one of the country’s longest-tenured and most diversly specialized secondhand vinyl markets. But some certainly do it better than others.

From carefully-curated house and techno sanctuaries to not-so-quiet converted loading docks with sprawling collections of disco, funk, and soul treasures, Brooklyn record stores are keeping analog sound accessible, affordable, and, occasionally, paired with a solid cut or pour of espresso.

Here’s our guide to some of the best Brooklyn record stores.

Superior Elevation

616 Grand St, Brooklyn, NY 11211

Owned and run by Tom Noble, a house and disco purist who moonlights as one of the city’s best late-night DJs (digital or analog), Superior Elevation was a staple of Bushwick’s renovated warehouse sprawl. After a flood wiped out the basement unit shop in 2021, Noble relocated to an above ground Williamsburg storefront, where he hosts weekly events for DJs and aspiring selectors, organizes crates of 12” house and techno singles by region, and lines the walls with hard-sought jazz, soul, and funk essentials (along with more than a few grails.)

Best Crates: House, Techno and Dance Singles

Human Head

289 Meserole St, Brooklyn, NY 11206

Known for a variety that doesn’t come at the expense of affordability, Human Head has been in/or around the center of Brooklyn’s secondhand record exchange for a cool decade. And while the trade has certainly changed in response to Record Store Day, supply chain shifts, and the dawn of the “vinyls” crowd, HH has remained true to its founding mission of providing an expertly-curated selection that won’t clean out your accounts. And the staff is brimming with genre specialists who will be happy to put you on.

Best Crates: Soul and Funk

Black Gold

461 Court St, Brooklyn, NY 11231

It’s not readily apparent which of its dark circular treasures the name refers to, but Black Gold has you covered regardless. This tiny Cobble Hill shop probably moves more coffee than records, but there’s an abundance of crates to rifle through with your first and/or last cup of the day, as well as books, tees, posters, and a range of music ephemera. So if the day forces you to pick between a decent cup and a tasty piece of wax, choose both and reclaim your precious time.

Record City

65 Fenimore St, Brooklyn, NY 11225

Just a block off from the Northeast corner of Prospect Park is one of Brooklyn’s best-kept collections of crates. It’s not huge, but what Record City lacks in size is made up 10-fold with an uncommon concentration of turntable fodder, especially for those seeking dub, reggae, rocksteady, and soul titles. Though their hours are somewhat limited (open Friday – Sunday from 12 p.m. to 8 p.m.), Record City is a proper pitstop on the way to or from your next park gathering.

Best Crates: Reggae and Soul

Face Records

176 Borinquen Pl, Brooklyn, NY 11211

Can a record store be both tiny and towering? Though it may seem conflating, if you’re referring to this hyper-specialized Japanese importer, the answer is, and may always be, yes. Situated on a rare no-frills stretch of Grand in Williamsburg, Face Records holds a truly singular selection of both rare, ultra-coveted titles by Japanese artists and OBI-striped Japan pressings of albums by stateside luminaries. It keeps some of your favorite producers combing through its bin of new arrivals. But be prepared to pay for the exclusivity. Those City Pop gems (and just about everything else in the store,) will have you recalibrating your monthly budget mid-dig.

Best Crates: New Arrivals

Academy Records Annex

242 Banker St, Brooklyn, NY 11222

Academy Records Annex and its sister location in the East Village are the type of stores you could (and probably should) just wipe your schedule clear for. Though Academy’s Brooklyn installation has moved north to Greenpoint from its original Williamsburg location, the new brick-and-mortar is as expertly curated and expansively stocked as ever. One of the few shops that’s managed to carry both new and used titles (as well as stereo equipment, zines, and vinyl care products), Annex is a trove for the casual or seasoned collector, who’s as ready to jump on a pristine copy of a ’70s disco single as they are devoted to grabbing the increasingly rare genuinely interesting RSD exclusive.

Best Crates: Soul and Funk

Black Star

480A Madison St, Brooklyn, NY 11221

The banner may have changed, but Martin Brewer’s little shop of carefully selected and sorted music oddities is still alive and well. Following a five-year-run as Halsey and Lewis Records (aptly named after the Stuyvesant Heights cross streets it was originally located on), Black Star, Brewer’s new brick-and-mortar in Bed-Stuy, is a space for the community to comb through books, housewares, holistics, and, of course, tons of records, which are sourced from decades of diligent collecting in and around New York.

Best Crates: Hip-Hop

Head Sounds

88 S Portland Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11217

Is it a barber shop that sells records or a record shop with a grooming section? That’s for you to decide at Head Sounds, where you’ll find some of Brooklyn’s best-kept crates lining its unassuming corner of Fort Greene between Fulton and the park. It isn’t huge, but from the dollar bins out front to the literal wall of choice jazz selections in the back, every inch of its precious square footage is densely stocked with everything from collector’s pieces to more widely available titles

Best Crates: Jazz

Brooklyn Record Exchange

599 Johnson Ave., Brooklyn, NY 11237

If you ever had the pleasure of sifting through the impeccably selected and indexed titles of Co-Op 87 in Greenpoint, this joint venture between one of the store’s founders and local indie label Mexican Summer should feel familiar, but a lot bigger. Now commanding a walk-up unit in the Bushwick complex that also houses Elsewhere and Mission Chinese, the Co-Op offshoot has expanded more than the floorplan. The inventory at Brooklyn Record Exchange is heavy and eclectic as ever, carrying new titles from the label alongside a range of used records that veers electronic, but also covers soul, funk, hip-hop, and reggae.

Best Crates: Electronic, House and Techno

Second Hand Records

23 Lawton St, Brooklyn, NY 11221

A house and techno specialist with plenty of supplementary material, Second Hand Records is one of the painfully few Brooklyn record stores where selection doesn’t come at the cost of affordability. Just steps from the not-so-quiet chaos of the Myrtle/Broadway stop and its iconic resident selector, Second Hand situates an impressive sprawl of LPs, 45s, and 12” singles under a wide skylight, disco ball, and some hulking vegetation, making it a little too easy to comb the rows for a day and still feel like you’ve barely scratched the surface.

Best Crates: Funk, Soul, and Disco.

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