After going to a record show today, I meandered up to my old haunts in Bergen County, primarily to get pizza from Angelo's in Maywood and ice cream from Bischoff's in Teaneck. Despite spending over two hours sifting through what seemed like endless boxes of records, I thought, perhaps I could look at just a few more.
Generally, New Jersey record stores can be sorted into two categories. Category 1 is Vintage Vinyl and the Princeton Record Exchange, which are both excellent record stores with great selection and perfectly acceptable prices. Category 2 is basically every other store I've been too, with stores usually marked by high prices and poor selection. (I'll exclude the new Spina Records from this analysis, since they are both within walking distance of my apartment and actually have records I would willingly and have willingly purchased in the past.)
However, today, I met a store which defies categorization today. Today was my first trip to EZ2Collect in Fair Lawn. I didn't know much about the store before going there, though I did have some trouble finding it, first by being on the wrong side of Broadway in Fair Lawn, which is nigh uncrossable, then by having to walk around the entire lighting store to find the store is actually the basement of the building. Not in the basement, mind you, but the entire basement.
Not prepared for what terrors lurk within, I enter and see items everywhere. Boxes and bins and stacks of records, CDs, cassettes and various video entertainment was piled everywhere. I take a slow, measured walk into the space and decide to look in the first box I find, which is filled with represses of various records, primarily punk rock records at that. Quite the find given the size of the store. I leaf through the records and find nothing I want at a reasonable price, since most of the records on my list were definitely available for less than $29.99 elsewhere. But new records are seldom the lifeblood of a record store, so I thought perhaps I would find better prices elsewhere in the store.
So, as I move down the first row, the gentleman I presume to be the owner introduces himself and asks if I would like some assistance, which I politely decline, though he informs me there are another 100,000 records in the back. I took a peak in the back and can confirm this seems like an accurate, if not small number, but continued searching the store. I eventually found a small section of ska and reggae CDs in the way back of the store, but couldn't bring myself to pull the trigger on a Skatalites CD. After passing a box of Christmas records, a box of country records and various boxes which I would define as rock, I make my way back to the front of the store and find some various rock records with an organizational system. These were at least alphabetical by letter and I made it all the way through B, finding a copy of Master of Reality, which was high in price and was also not allowed to look at. I poked around a bit more in these stacks, but really just began walking around the store, trying to look for things.
In reality, I was just overwhelmed by the amount of merchandise crammed into the store. I bet there were some truly great items I would want hidden away in some nook, cranny or pile, but I lacked the insight to gleam where they might be, other than the fairly expensive copies of the Wrestling Album on display. It was just too much chaos to even begin to formulate an effective plan and after about 30 minutes of not finding anything, I slowly worked my way out the back door, never more frightened of a store or the organizational system which kept it together.
Perhaps someday, I will pack a lunch and a soda, and prepare to spend the entire day either attempting to find some records I want or to see a sailboat. I suspect I might see the sailboat first, since I would have an idea of where to look. However, if no fear lurks in your heart, you should definitely go to EZ2Collect and see what you can find, for you, as a braver soul than I, deserve whatever you find.