Record and CD collectors, and DJ wannabes head for the East Village, an area with a history of setting music trends. Its heyday was in the 1970s–90s when many now-legendary bands paid their dues here like Luscious Jackson, Talking Heads, Dee-Lite, Patti Smith, and the Ramones to name but a few. High rents have pushed the indie-rock and roots-music scene to Brooklyn, and music clubs are now centered on the Lower East Side, but the East Village is clinging with tenacity to its musical past as the destination for DJs, and LP and CD collectors.
At Other Music (pictured above) (15 E. 4th St), DJs and musicians flip through carefully curated rare and experimental records. Helpful blurbs are posted on new indie-rock arrivals, and there’s a great selection of quirkier finds from obscure psychedelia to Polynesian electronica. Turntable Lab (120 E. 7th St) is a one-stop source for both aspiring and professional DJs, selling basic equipment and high-tech add-ons, as well as a small but eclectic vinyl collection.
At A1 Record Shop (439 E. 6th St), you can find out-of-print rarities. Good Records (218 E. 5th St) has carefully chosen rock, soul, jazz, hip-hop, funk, and reggae vinyl. Gimme Gimme Records (325 E. 5th St) carries a good selection of disco, house, and techno vinyl, but is only open Fri–Sun 1–10pm.
To watch DJs in action any time of day or night, pass by the street-level studio of the internet radio station East Village Radio. Up to 60 DJs take turns playing excellent and rare music in a mix of genres in two-hour blocks.