In a city rapidly losing its record shops, Academy Records is alive and well on West 18th Street. It's actually crowded on Saturday afternoons with giddy music collectors.
(I've been holding this post, unpublished, for quite some time because I'm afraid to jinx the place. But I don't have that kind of power, right? So here goes.)
Inside, it feels like New York. Like the real New York we used to know, not so long ago. And it should. Academy's been around since 1977.
Here you will find actual New Yorkers. It's as if some giant sifter has panned across the shopping mall of Fifth Avenue, weeded out the tourists and the dullest newbies, and deposited the gold right here. You can tell these people are New Yorkers because they feel like New Yorkers, even if they don't live in New York. They've got an edge to them. An energy.
How to describe this? If you don't know what I mean, well, you either know or you don't.
I'm telling you, it's like walking into the pre-Bloomberg city. If you're feeling sick and sad and fed up with it all, with everything this city has become, go into Academy Records and you'll feel better.
You might even feel hopeful as you listen to the frantic click, click, click of CD jewel cases snapping
as fingers flip through the selections in their bins.
through the crowd with armloads.
These people are passionate. They're not fooling around.
Do not get in their way.