Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Academy Records

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(I've been holding this post, unpublished, for quite some time because I'm afraid to jinx the place.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.

Shoppers walk through the crowd with armloads.

These people are passionate. They're not fooling around.

Do not get in their way.


onemorefoldedsunset said...

I love Academy! - have been going since the 80s. I know what you mean about jinxing, but it's still good to celebrate the survivors. I'm amazed that the Record & Tape Center at Fifth & 9th (Brooklyn) is still open, after fifty years or so on the avenue. It was supposed to be closing several years ago, but is still there, along with its loyal customers.

Tal Hartsfeld said...

A record store with a huge CD selection? How anachronistic!

Does this store also sell used records (33 1/3 and 45 RPM)?

Of course it should all be primarily about the music and nothing else.
But with all the "vinyl craze" going on there are apt to be a few who are only after "vintage collectibles".

Any time I ever bought either records or compact discs it was ALWAYS about what was recorded on said disc. It was always about the listening and the enjoyment of the recorded content. NOT about whether or not the record was "one of the original pressings on the original label in mint condition".

Ben said...

Whew! When I saw Academy as the post I was momentarily worried that it was going or gone. I live in the neighborhood and visit Academy frequently. I love the place and I'm glad it was a post about a thriving store.

Ken Mac said...

Love this joint. Excellent jazz and classical LPs in the back. Knowledgeable, friendly salespeople. Good prices paid for used LPs. Good new arrivals stock. And listening to the woman behind the register yammer is priceless.

Hey, Jeremiah, what about Jazz Record Center? 236 W 26th on the 8th floor? In business for 30 years!