While the rest of the industry worries about MP3s kicking the chair from under the high street chain and streaming services looming over the shoulder of digital downloads, vinyl is enjoying a revival. Why? Your humble independent record shop. Last year we explored the Record Shops of London, but what about our friends in the good ole' USA? What do they have to offer us?

For the latest edition of our look into the Record Shops of New York, we made our way to Bleecker Street Records in Greenwich Village (188 West 4th Street, New York, NY 10014, United States).

Discover: The Record Shops of New York: Black Gold Records

Bleecker Street Records

What's on the turntable right now?

ACEN-Trip To The Moon (parts 1 & 2) 1992. (Ultra cheesey early Electronic/Rave, just don't know why one gets a certain craving...)

Bleecker Street Records
Bleecker Street Records
Bleecker Street Records

Why did you decide to open a record shop?

Bleecker Street Records began life 18 years ago, the motivation back then was as different as the scene itself. There were tons of viable record stores. Perhaps a more apt question, if we may, is why did we decide to stay in business after all these years. We believe in what we do, and luckily, the rebirth of vinyl has backed us up.

Bleecker Street Records
Bleecker Street Records
Bleecker Street Records

When did you open?

1997

What else happens here other than records?

Let's begin with the cats, plural. They are our most famous ambassadors. Besides tons of records and CDs, we have lots of ephemera too. For example, we have an impressive, ever growing "playbill" section of almost every Broadway play from the late 40s thru the '90s. The biggest hits and biggest flops (including an immaculate copy of Carrie). Many have the original ticket stubs, review clippings, and many are autographed. The store is covered in album art, and we give album cover tours. We have music battles (best song in a given genre) among the staff that will spill over to our customers. We also have the odd in-store appearance of music artists as well as authors. And, as we haven't yet heard from Ripleys yet, we may indeed have the smallest bathroom in New York City.

What sorts of people do you get in your shop?

God love them, our customers! They are young kids, university students, tourists, fathers and sons, families, lovers, old timers, DJs, certified nutjobs (and that's not just the staff). Generally it's people of every stripe that just love music!

Bleecker Street Records
Bleecker Street Records
Bleecker Street Records
Bleecker Street Records

Do you specialise in anything (second hand, new releases, genre etc.)?

We do have a constantly changing stock of "genuine articles". That is to say, rare, original, collectible vinyl in mint condition. We have two floors worth of used vinyl, collectible and otherwise. We truly see our store as part retail venue, part museum (of music). There is a story and a value behind almost every record, we like to have that story told. Every collectible record is sold with a synopsis attached. That being said, we don't limit ourselves to any specific genre. Rock 'n' Roll, Funk and Jazz are the lowest common denominator for many customers, which we feel we have an expertise in, but we also showcase every other thing from Folk, Blues, Broadway, Electronic, Avant Garde, Classical, Country, Texas Swing, and so on. If we think we can sell it, and in most cases we can, we'll buy it and give it a place of dignity. We really do believe that records are incredibly interesting. We love music, we love records.

With music buying now dominated by MP3, why do you think that vinyl is still so popular, especially when compared to other dead or dying formats like cassette, MiniDisc or CD?

Excellent question! Let's stir the pot a bit more and add that it is young people that are our main vinyl customers(!?!). Well, as an "old guy", who grew up on vinyl, I imagine it's the same attraction that I had as a young man. Those attributes being that it sounds better, looks better, is more tangible. But I don't want to imagine I know what a young person thinks these days. We have given up trying to figure it out, and simply try to service the desire. Vinyl has always been and still is the best format ever. And, "a-hem", we still sell cassettes and VHS too!

Bleecker Street Records
Bleecker Street Records
Bleecker Street Records
Bleecker Street Records
Bleecker Street Records

Do you remember the first record you sold?

It was either Emo Phillips or the Sisters of Mercy.

Do you remember the first record you bought?

Absolutely, The Edgar Winter Group-'Shock Treatment'-1974. I bought it with my own money, so I didn't have to go through the filter of the parental eye. I just saw that cover and saw four of the biggest freaks I had ever seen and said, "this has to be great".

I still listen to that record. Dan Hartman was on that LP before he went disco. He has a song on that called 'Queen of My Dreams' where he plays all the instruments and singing. It sounds just like Zeppelin. Gosh, what a friggin' great first record!

What's the most prized vinyl in your collection?

The most prized LP at the moment at Bleecker Street Records is a tie between Mikey Mantle-My Favorite Hits (1958) and Milicent Martin-Milicent (1959-U.K. only pressing). Both extremely rare and, we think, rather interesting too.

Bleecker Street Records
Bleecker Street Records
Bleecker Street Records
Bleecker Street Records
Bleecker Street Records