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Used Record Paradise at The Thing (plus comics and junk)

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You enter to the sweet song of two metal-heads arguing about music.

“Okay, name me one decent album in the last five years,” says one.

“No, they’re all shit,” says the other.

On your right, a white board details prices and policies. At the bottom, it reads “Dirty Looks Free.”

If you go when the metal-head owners aren’t there, you will receive a non-greet from a woman transfixed by some frayed, yellow book. You could literally immolate yourself in front of her and she would obstinately stare at her page, unwilling to give you the slightest bit of satisfaction. So metal.

And so it goes at The Thing, Greenpoint’s finest junk shop. Looking for African statues for your apartment? Go to The Thing. VHS? The Thing. Lamps? China? Stereos? They’ve got it. Look at their Yelp; there’s a picture of a chicken coop someone bought. I even came close to purchasing this exercise bike yesterday:


If your local thrift store has just become so infested with Manhattanites and condo-brats that you can no longer bear the thought of shopping there, The Thing is your kind of place.

On some days you might wander in there to find that, besides the low prices, there isn’t a whole lot to set it apart from your typical yuppie bargain-fest in Williamsburg. And then you’ll walk in one day to find a collection of Atari games and a phallic statue just for you.

But of course, it’s in Greenpoint and if you’re going to trek all the way up to North Brooklyn, you need a little glicken.

Here it is: The Thing possesses the finest record collection in Brooklyn, possibly New York City. Only, calling it a collection makes it seem vaguely organized. It’s not. “Record cave” would be more accurate.

You walk past the endlessly opining sentinels to the back of the shop where you see stacks of crates, tightly packed with LPs, lining the walls. Then you descend a small staircase (littered with broken vinyl) into the bowels of audiophile heaven, or as others might see it, a musty LP cesspit.

Before we continue, I would like to point out that you’re broke. You shouldn’t be wasting money on records. If you’re so obsessed with quality, you can find FLAC and Lossless lurking around the Internet for free.

But I get it. You have that special someone over. You put on Percy Sledge. She looks admiringly at your setup as the record hisses before Percy’s voice belts out “When a man…” Okay. Still, you are both big dorks and I hope both of you realize that.

Moving on…

At the bottom of the stairs, you find yourself in a veritable cave, with crates upon crates stacked ceiling high and several layers deep, just waiting for you to pore through them, looking for the little overlooked gem that will finally complete your collection of underground RnB hits from 1993.

Don’t expect any sort of genre classification. Don’t expect it to make sense. Don’t even expect the records to be good. Just expect a whole lot of them. Furthermore, they go for $2 a pop. So if you are going to burden yourself and your roommates with piles of soukous LPs you pretend to like, this is the place to load up on the cheap.

But maybe you’re looking for something a bit more edgy. After all, every single friend of yours has a record collection. And what a bunch of goobers they are! So what can you do? Start a comic book collection. The Thing has an entire back wall stacked high with hundreds upon hundreds of comics. I recently sat there for easily an hour perusing one such publication concerning Captain America’s adventures as a wolf man. And thanks to the “don’t care; go kill yourself” attitude of the staff, I was able to do so without anyone bothering me.

They also have objects you can actually use: clothing, wireless computer paraphernalia, fans, and armchairs. But then… are you really going to choose some hetero-normative lamp over comics, vintage video games, and LPs? I didn’t think so.

The Thing
1001 Manhattan Ave
(between Huron St & Green St)
9:30 am to 7 pm

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Jules Owen - Wandering Wastrel

Jules Owen - Wandering Wastrel

Going to a rich kid school when you aren't even given an allowance certainly trains you to live large on the cheap. Armed with such expertise, Jules travelled the globe, surviving off of 50 cent beers and 2 dollar meals everywhere from Buenos Aires to Mumbai. Three years ago he returned to the United States, living first in Baltimore while he settled a debt with the IRS, then in Brooklyn where he plays music and writes. He aspires to one day live in a van on N.15th and Kent.