Best Stores For Reggae Vinyl In New York

By:  Carter Van Pelt

New York City is home to some of the best used record shopping in the world, and because of the longstanding Caribbean communities in the 5 boroughs, reggae, dancehall, and soca records abound.

While stalwarts VP Records, Charlie’s, Jah Life, and the African Record Center (the oldest in the Northeast) have been continuously operating for 40-55 years, the relative newcomers that have evolved from e-commerce platforms into brick-and-mortar stores have the largest inventory turnover and freshest records on an ongoing basis.

Since 1996, A1 Records on East 6th Street has been a favorite among East Village shops, rivaled only by Academy Records on East 12th. Each of these are worth checking for their reggae selections, but more generally for any and every genre of music you can imagine. A1 has been the go-to spot for soul, dance, disco, and house music since its inception. You’ll see their famous customer base represented on their Instagram page. The shop was a backdrop for several interviews in PBS’s recent Fight The Power hip-hop documentary.

Record City, in the heart of Flatbush’s newly designated Little Caribbean neighborhood, is the heir to Brooklyn reggae record stores like Super Power, Chin-Randy’s, Germaine, J&L, Witty’s/Soul Heaven, Barry U, and others. The shop was founded by Ian Clark, who is also co-founder of the DKR label with Rob Buschgans. DKR is hands down the best reggae reissue label of the past 15 years, and Record City is the best place to get the label’s titles at a friendly price. Record City offers a well-curated selection of reggae, soul, jazz, African, salsa, and other assorted delights.

Also worth a visit in Brooklyn are Blue Sun, Human Head, and Superior Elevation in the Williamsburg and Bushwick neighborhoods, respectively. All of these shops have knowledgeable reggae buyers keeping the stock fresh.

In the Bronx, Moodies Records on White Plains Road is the last standing from the golden era of the 1970s that included Tad’s, Brad’s, Andy’s and Wackies. Moodies is still loaded with vintage stock from days gone by. Founder Earl Moodie passed away in 2021 but the shop is still alive and well, part of the Bronx reggae legacy.