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The borough’s vinyl−obsessed, who prefer liner notes to quick downloads and whose musical tastes are more The Yardbirds than the Jonas Brothers, should make Oakland Gardens−based Breakdown Records their first stop.
The store, at 48−09 Bell Blvd. in Oakland Gardens, hosts a large collection of vinyl records of all musical types, cassette tapes and CDs, 45s and 78s, posters and VHS tapes. Breakdown was founded in 1987 by Flushing resident Anthony Cascella and Ara Soyak, whose aim for the shop is to give Queens its very own old school, vinyl record store.
“We’d like this to be a cultural destination, where people can talk about music, listen to music and play music,” Cascella said.
He said if customers have seen the films “High Fidelity” or “Clerks,” then they should know what to expect. The store, which boasts items ranging in price from $1 to several thousand dollars, draws customers from all over Queens, Brooklyn, Manhattan and Long Island.
Cascella said the store draws as many teenagers as it does their parents, who likely grew up listening to vinyl records.
“They come in and want to debate and show off their knowledge,” he said. “You’ll hear customers saying they saw The Doors in 1969 and their kids will roll their eyes. But I think that kids today are the most knowledgeable generation in terms of music. They know a lot because of all the available technology.”
Cascella and Soyak started the store with their own collections of 4,000 jazz and rock ‘n’ roll records. Over the years, the store has collected thousands of records, tapes, CDs and movies. Breakdown conducts an estimated 75 percent of its business on the Internet through eBay sales, Cascella said.
But he said he has further plans for the store, which could include the addition of new albums to compliment the thousands of used records, as well as offering recording time to local musicians in the store’s basement studio and live music.
The store has seen renewed interest during the past few years, which Cascella attributes to vinyl’s resurgence.
“Vinyl has really been on an upswing in the last few years,” he said. “It has a much warmer, more natural sound and offers a more personal experience. It’s pretty impersonal when you download — there’s much less of a connection. Vinyl is definitely becoming a hobby, much like comic book collecting.”
The store’s vinyl is all priced at $2, while its cassettes and VHS tapes are $2 and its CDs are $5. Its collection spans all eras and musical styles.
“For $20, a person can walk out with a bag of records or tapes, whatever their fancy,” Cascella said.
Breakdown is open Monday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. The store will be open seven days a week beginning in the spring.
Reach reporter Nathan Duke by e−mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 718−229−0300, Ext. 156.
©2009 Community Newspaper Group
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