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By Scott Enman
Special to Brooklyn Street Beat
From Neil Young and Stevie Wonder to underground house hits, Bushwick’s newest vinyl record store has something for everyone — including Chinese food.
Brooklyn Record Exchange, located inside Elsewhere, a 24,000-square-foot warehouse-turned-nightclub, opened on Saturday in the same building as Danny Bowien’s acclaimed Mission Chinese Food restaurant, which Eater calls “a psychedelic recap of [Bowien’s] greatest hits.”
Mike Hunchback and Ben Steidel of Co-Op 87, an existing record store in Greenpoint, teamed up with Mexican Summer, a New York City record label, to open the new store, which features records for both casual collectors and full-time DJs.
“Our stores have never been about a particular niche or a particular scene or particular genre,” Steidel told Brooklyn Street Beat. “We really aim to be welcoming to both people looking for a record to play with dinner down to serious collectors and DJs.”
The new space features a sleek wooden interior and lots of natural light — the perfect environment for a long day of digging. Colorful record sleeves and potted plants play off the bright artwork adorning the walls.
Hunchback and Steidel will briefly close Co-Op 87 at 87 Guernsey St. after eight years for renovations, then reopen it as Brooklyn Record Exchange Greenpoint. “It’s the same store, run by the same people, but we’ll have a new look and we’re going to do a little rebrand so the two stores feel like a whole,” Steidel said.
Both shops will offer unique collections that will complement each other and cater to the tastes of the two distinct neighborhoods.
“It will be really nice to not super tightly curate, but with a certain degree of subtlety, be able to say, we’re not getting as many techno DJs in Greenpoint, but they’re all over Bushwick, so let’s really focus on that there,” Steidel said.
“We have a pretty wide range of tastes and don’t look upon any particular genres. It’s really just about being as inclusive as possible.”
The owners hope to foster a community between their two stores, creating an environment where people don’t just shop for LPs, but also where they can sell, trade, talk and — above all — appreciate records.
The impetus for expanding to the Bushwick site at 599 Johnson Ave. came from the limited space at the Greenpoint location.
“We were literally drowning in boxes of records over there,” Steidel said. “We were hacking every inch of that space. … We’re all a little OCD about keeping the store super organized and clean, so now you won’t just be shifting through a crate on the ground.”
The shops will sell exclusive Brooklyn Record Exchange products, plus obscure movies and books of all genres. Steidel praised Bushwick for its hip vibe and proliferation of art and music venues. “Bushwick is always where we felt we would end up, because it’s a neighborhood that’s full of young people right now,” he said. “There are a lot of spaces opening up and a lot of availability.”
And seeing as Mission Chinese can have wait times of up to two hours, patrons will have plenty of time to search for some new music before indulging in Chongqing chicken wings.
Further south in Gowanus, a new hi-fi record bar, sound room and vegan café dubbed Public Records opened at 223 Butler St.
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