On this particular Sunday afternoon, scrawled in chalk behind one of the many rows of real-life vinyl albums, is a quote from Lou Reed: “I don’t like nostalgia unless it’s mine.” Well, the nostalgia that’s going on here is definitely ours. Rough Trade has been doling out the indie in London since 1976, but only last November did the British import come to our shores (specifically, the Williamsburg waterfront). Vinyl is prominent in the spacious environs of Rough Trade NYC, which boasts specimens as old as Meat Is Murder and as new as World Peace Is None of Your Business. The store plays no favorites, showcasing local acts alongside big-label bands. Then there are the CDs, categorized by genre and era, rather than the easier-to-catalog but far-less-fun alphabetical order. With music books and rags on display, and even a small selection of cassettes, the shop fills the void left by the megastores we so sorely miss, excavating memories of being a carless suburban teenager begging your parents to drive you to Tower Records or Sam Goody — or, Christ, even Best Buy (anywhere to get your hands on the latest). Of course, none of us feels that way anymore. We don’t have to: We have Wi-Fi. But that doesn’t mean we don’t want to, and Rough Trade, with its wide-aisled, browse-conducive layout, gets that. Nostalgia, when it transpires in Williamsburg, is generally sneered upon. But this is nostalgia of the highest order — the kind that brings people together. Don’t take our word for it; attend one of the shows or readings in Rough Trade’s adjoining concert venue and see for yourself.
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