The Vinyl Tourist Visits
The home of Big Hair and Cleavage, Long Island, New York, is the Vinyl Tourist's "home town." Which is to say, this is where the VT grew up. Even though the western part of the Island includes the boroughs of Brooklyn and Queens, these are actually part of New York City. The Long Island that New Yorkers think of only includes the counties of Nassau and Suffolk and this is where our Vinyl Tour is centered.
After World War II, the bucolic countryside of farms, estates, and rural villages that typified the Island for 300 years was transformed into a maze of tract houses and strip malls, mainly concentrated on Nassau's South Shore and western Suffolk. Today most of these villages blend together and are indistinguishable from one another, their boundaries making little sense in today's world. Only in isolated sections of Nassau's North Shore and eastern Suffolk, can the visitor still enjoy the traditional Long Island of Walt Whitman and F. Scott Fitzgerald.
On the other hand, the population migration to the Island has been a boon for record collectors. Because it boasts a relatively well educated, cultured, and affluent population, music has a place in virtually all Long Island homes. Consequently, there are many well-stocked shops to serve every taste. But before you begin, make sure to purchase a high-quality, easy to read street map. Every town has duplicate road names and street patterns can be an unfathomable puzzle without one.
In need of a local map? Try Google Maps.
Finally, if you haven't already done so, please read the Vinyl Tourist's Caveat.
- Infinity Records
510 Park Boulevard
Massapequa Park, NY 11783
Infinity Records is a spacious, well organized shop with strengths in pop, rock, and jazz, as well as a credible selection of soul and Latin music. There are lots of rarities, an audiophile bin, a bargain bin, and a great selection of new vinyl, too. Prices are in the middle range of what the serious collector should expect to pay. What every collectors' store ought to be.
- Mr. Cheapo Record Exchange (at two locations):
134 Jericho Tpke.
Mineola, NY 11501
Mayfair Shopping Center
46 Jericho Tpke.
Commack, NY 11725
Mr. Cheapo, as the name implies, has a generous selection of LP's at reasonable prices. The main shop is the Mineola location, but the other is not far away and is worth visiting if time allows. The atmosphere is more relaxed (meaning more congested) than at Infinity, with major strengths in pop and rock, plus a good selection of folk, country, and some classical, too. The more collectible records are in a separate section towards the back of the Mineola store.
- High Fidelity
59B Merrick Road (in the Amity Mall Shopping Plaza)
Amityville, NY 11701
This is a shop that opened in August, 2005, and one that I have yet to visit, so I can't comment about price and selection. However, the photos on the website make it out to be inviting and easy to navigate. Appears to be worth a visit.
- Tag Sales
Want to know where to find "Shaded Dogs" for $1? Elvis 78's for 75 cents? This must be the place! Because the original post-war suburbanites are at an age where they are either moving to retirement homes or simply passing away, tag sales featuring records abound. The easiest place to scope them out is the classified section of Newsday, Long Island's daily newspaper. Luckily for the vinyl seeker, there is even an online edition of
Newsday's Tag/Garage Sales ads complete with keyword search. I recommend that you use the keyword "records" in the search box. You will get a return of all current listings, but watch the dates! Listings often span past and coming weeks and there is nothing more frustrating than showing up at the right place at the wrong time.
- Whirlin' Disc Record Shop
230 Main St.
Farmingdale, NY 11735
Whirlin' Disc is a paradox of sorts. Records that typically sell elsewhere for $3 are priced at $9, $4 records are $12, $15 records are $45. The selection is good, mainly oldies and country, but the prices for commonplace items simply don't make sense. What's the paradox? Well, in the midst of all this high-priced spread, is a virtually complete inventory of Relic Records' "Best Of Doo-Wop" reissues, all 60 or 100 volumes. They're new, sealed copies, and mostly for $9.99! These are the ones that are really hard to find! Go figure.
"It's better to be talked about, than not to be talked about at all."
- Oscar Wilde
I first wrote that review in 1997. It took the folks at Whirlin' Disc seven years to find it and, except for [my comments], this was their unedited response:
One of our customers mentioned you had reviewed our store on your site, and we checked it out. We have been in business for 29 years, and consider ourselves an oldie store, specializing in doowops and oldies from the 50's and 60's. We carry CD's as well as vinyl. We also carry music up till the present. That said, I must take issue with your questioning of our prices. Since you do patronize countless stores across the country, you must see a lot of discrepencies in prices. For instance, something that is rare in CA, may be common in NY, or vice versa. Like stamps, coins, comic books, baseball cards and other collectables, there is no set price, only an ASKING price [Really? I didn't know]. Books like Goldmine's or Discovery's price guides, have a whole chapter on the variations in prices, and that those books are not a bible, but a GUIDE! We do not price the records in the store SOLELY by the price guide [Did I say anything about them using one of those inflated price guides?]. Other variables we use are what we paid for them [In Goldmine's Comedy Record Price Guide, Ron Smith mentions that dealers typically pay 5 cents on the dollar], quantities on hand and condition as well as what other stores who carry similar items as us sell them for.|
Since you are not a doo wop or pre Beatles collector [How do they know this?], you do not have the expertise to say that our prices are not accurate. For you to say that we are selling $4.00 records for $9.00 implies that you know for sure that a record is worth $4.00. If the price guides are only a guide, not a bible, how can you state that the record is automatically $4.00? While it was nice to include us in your Journeys section, by making us seem as if we are stupid [Where did I suggest anything of the sort?] and do not know how to price records defeats the purpose [Hardly. It's not a paid advertisement, it's my opinion]. Since you have been in the store, if you had a question about our prices, we would have been to happy to explain this to you at the time. We have customers all over the world, and they keep reordering from us so we must be doing something right [If that's true, my review isn't affecting their business, so what's all the fuss?]. In the future, when you review a store, whether it is ours or anyones elses, it would be wise to mention that certain areas of music are not your specialty, this way you can avoid problems. [Or maybe I should just park my brain at the door.]
To clarify the point, the comments about pricing mainly refer to the sort of rock 'n' roll LPs that are fairly common -- Billy Joel, Fleetwood Mac, Bruce Springsteen, and so on -- not specifically to rare collectibles (though I suppose one could read it that way). The comparison is based on what other stores on Long Island charge for the same type of material. Hmmm... I think there was something in the review about a bunch of rare records being a bargain. Ay, Caramba!
Despite the silly letter, I have no personal beef with this store and urge you to pay it a visit to make up your own mind. After all, I was happy to spend $600+ there for all those Relic reissues -- why shouldn't you? That's the most I've ever spent in one store at one time, so take it as an endorsement. Say, doesn't that make me a Doo Wop collector, after all? I wonder if they would have sold them to me for $500? If I had only known that those price stickers were merely suggestions. Do I feel foolish, or what?
- Music Trends
2947 Hempstead Tpke.
Levittown, NY 11756
Your #1 HQ for 12-inch hip-hop and dance singles. A genre that is often relegated to a corner bin in most stores takes center stage here. In addition to records, they also carry a full line of DJ sound and playback gear. Turntables are mainly direct-drive models from Stanton and Technics and are available with optional carrying case or dual mounted on a console complete with mixers and faders. Records are arranged alphabetically by title, not artist, so bring your song list!
- Slipped Disc
68 Rockaway Ave.
Valley Stream, NY 11580
This is a good place to find gothic, metal, and indie LP's, as well as other media, both domestic and imported. The selection is mostly new, but there are some bins of used records towards the back.
Last Update: July 2007