"In the city, though, you can just go to cool record stores and learn about new and old music organically." The hell you can. It was true once now long ago, but it's not possible to become musically literate and keep abreast of new culture in New York today. Other Music is a great place with a certain great specialty, but Manhattan offers nothing the suburbs don't any more. No venues or musical community. Downtown is dead; completely dead, faux Village Voice notwithstanding.