June 16, 2015 By Jackie Strawbridge
A longtime vinyl collector hopes to bring Astoria’s audiophiles together with a new record shop.
HiFi Records, located at 23-19 Steinway St., is slated to open by early July according to owner Javier Velazquez.
“I’ve always wanted to open a record store,” said Velazquez, an Astoria resident who has been collecting since he inherited some of his sister’s records as a kid. “It’s a labor of love.”
HiFi Records’ inventory builds on the personal collection Velazquez has acquired over his life, spanning rock, indie and alternative, jazz, pop, blues, R&B and more. The store will also include new pressings from many contemporary artists, including Courtney Barnett, Future Islands and Lana Del Rey.
For Velazquez, listening to and buying records offers a different, “more intimate” way to engage with music than downloading MP3s.
“[Downloading] is great, I do it as well – I enjoy music in any form that I can get it. But a music store brings people together,” he said. “You can exchange ideas, you can talk about music, you can discover new music, and I think it’s really great. I think it’s going to be very good for the community.”
He said he picked the Steinway Street location because it caters to many collectors’ tendency to “gravitate to a place that’s a little more off the beaten path.”
“Usually people that want to go seek out vinyl records like an atmosphere that’s a little more quiet,” he said. “It gives them time to relax, sink in.”
Aside from perusing the collection, HiFi Records customers will also be able to listen to records at the store, pick up music accessories and sell their own records.
The shop will also have a 10-seat café area serving coffee and espresso.
Velazquez said he hopes to soft-open within the next month, with an opening party to follow.