Hear What’s Playing At HIFI Records
By Sofia Pipolo
Forget Spotify and Soundcloud for just a second and tune in to the music at HiFi Records: Astoria’s one and only vinyl shop! HiFi is truly one of the best, with an extensive collection of vinyl, turntables and audio equipment. Any music lover will be thrilled with their insanely large inventory of classic albums, contemporary releases, rare finds and new discoveries from around the world. The owner, Javi Velazquez, has not only curated a great selection of vinyl to sift through, but a welcoming atmosphere to hang out, have a cup of coffee and listen to what’s playing. The friendly and knowledgeable staff will be happy to help you find the sound you’re looking for, or maybe introduce you to something you haven’t heard yet.
From punk, to jazz, to blues, HiFi’s small space packs in a lot of sound. Shop by decade, genre or artist and explore both new and old favorites. A standout selection they’re particularly proud of is their World Music Section – “Get Worldly, Bro!”
In July 2015, Velazquez, a Project Manager in construction, opened HiFi as a hobby in hopes to provide a place for local music lovers like himself to come together. Since opening, he continues to cultivate a cool, unique atmosphere that’s not pretentious but inviting and fun. He describes it as “not boutique; a little rough around the edges, but still a good place to stop on a date.”
It’s difficult for Velazquez to pinpoint his own favorite music genre: “I just love good music,” he says. “Then people ask me, ‘Well, what’s good?’, and I say, ‘Stuff I like.’”
The staff at HiFi have also found a great deal of joy connecting with customers. “Music brings people together,” they say. One staff member, Stephanie, tells of how they have become a bit of a safe haven right now. One customer expressed to her, “This album saved me during quarantine.” Because of experiences like this, employees and customers alike have been able to stay positive, coming together at HiFi to celebrate simple joys through the connection of music.
Velazquez, the designated “Dad-Bro” of the HiFi family, extends his appreciation to the neighborhood for their endless support. He says, “At the end of the day, the store belongs to the community.”
23-19 Steinway St. | 718.606.1474 | @hifirecordsastoria