Vinyl Fantasy Makes Bushwick Record Lovers' Dreams Come True

Categories: Feature

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Courtesy of Ilana Engel
Tucked away on the corner of Knickerbocker Avenue and Jefferson Street in Brooklyn's growing Bushwick neighborhood sits a new addition to the revival of local record stores in the New York City area. Vinyl Fantasy, co-owned by childhood friends Joseph Cozza and Russell Hymowitz, is a tiny room with little to signify its location on the outside minus a small sign highlighted by stringed lights that are a mighty contrast from the neon of neighboring stores and businesses. Along the walls are shelves and bin-covered tables loaded with a variety of artists beneath potently colorful prints provided by illustrator Valeriya Volkova. It's a beautiful variety presented as most bins are unmarked besides their well-curated jazz section and some discounted selections. For customers and the equally music-obsessed brains behind the business, half the fun is in the surprise.

See also: How to Write a "Vinyl is Back!" Story

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Jo Rigol's art will be on display starting Friday, 11/15
Having just opened their doors on October 10, Cozza and Hymowitz are still in the process of getting into a groove for their new store. The two vinyl junkies had been wanting to get into business with one another for some time and when a good friend offered the space mid-summer, it was an opportunity they couldn't pass up. Now a month later, the pair are building up their inventory. "The store is constantly in flux," says Cozza, who just picked up a new collection of records to stock the bins with. "Everything from the art changing to what we're focusing on will constantly look different."

The art in question refers to the monthly gallery show the store will present every third Friday of the month. "We felt it was a really good way of bringing different kinds of people into the store," says Engel, a Pratt alum who has provided the walls of the store with work from two college friends. While Volkova kicked off the series, former fashion major Jo Rigol takes over on Friday, November 15th with her gorgeously dark pieces that will soon adorn the walls of the store. While other in-store events are in the works, the art shows have shown promise in their ability to support their friends by selling their work and enriching the experience of shopping in the evolving space. "For now, we're going to stick to the one art show a month," remarks Cozza on future plans. "We might switch it up to one every couple of weeks and split the month up with two artists, but we kind of like letting people have their stuff up on the wall and [to have it] sit for a while."

As much as the owners love seeing the tangible effects of the store's physical evolution, they love experiencing the process as well. On Knickerbocker, new businesses with desires to quench unique palates in the area are popping up constantly, making Vinyl Fantasy one of several. Just down the street, a new French bistro named Mominette, with its Tuesday Jazz Nights, has become a budding brunch spot. The two have plans to collaborate in the future. Though Hymowitz lives just down the street from the store, Cozza has found himself returning to work in a transformed area from the one he lived in 10 years ago. Though fostering a sense of community and local pride is a natural hope for small business owners, Cozza and Hymowitz find themselves taking a more laid back and realistic approach to it. "We're just taking it slowly," says Cozza. "We're a tiny space. There are certain limitations to what we can do with it."


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