East Village

A1 recordshop

In this era of big-box superstores selling books, CDs, videos, DVDs, coffee, tires and everything else imaginable, a record store that sticks to records is endearingly quaint, if not archaic. Owner Isaac Kaufman abandoned life as a flea-market merchant in 1996 to set up A-1, a retail showcase for his large selection of american records from the 1960s through the 1990s. Customers who browse long enough may stumble across the occasional rock title, but the inventory is geared to the only people (aside from cantankerous collectors) still interested in vinyl: DJs. To that end, the focus is on soul, jazz and hip-hop, plus an ever-changing—they sell that quickly—assortment of disco and house singles. A-1 won't do special orders, but you can listen to records in the store before you buy, to see whether your find’s worth the scratch. Just keep your disco discoveries on the down-low: It’s not cool to brag if you discover a really rare treasure. — Rumaan Alam

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