Fishing for Vinyl and Vintage in Greenpoint
“This neighborhood is becoming a vinyl mecca,” says Robert Piskorski, owner of Dream Fishing Tackle (673 Manhattan Ave). His store, which opened 17 years ago, was known for selling fishing gear until a year and a half ago, when his daughter convinced him to start stocking antiques and quirky artifacts in a portion of the store, while still allocating much of the space for “hardcore saltwater and hardcore freshwater” fishermen’s supplies. Then about six months ago, Piskorski began carrying vintage vinyl alongside the fishing tackle and antiques. Perhaps this motley selection was brought about by his own personal disdain for big retailers like Walmart or “boring boutiques in Manhattan. They all look the same.” He feels that an optimal shopping experience brings “a sense of adventure and discovery.” Dream Fishing Tackle certainly promotes that ideology, and it’s unique to Greenpoint.
“We’re still living in Woodstock,” Piskorski remarks, indicating that his store carries a lot of records from the 1960s. He says customers’ other favorites are classic rock, Motown, jazz and punk. But he’s still learning what people like. Jethro Tull is one example, who he thought might sell well because they’re critically acclaimed and internet prices on their albums seem to suggest they’d fetch a decent sum. But apparently the band’s old records aren’t exactly flying off the shelves.
He likes to keep prices low, almost always less than the album’s listed value on Discogs.com, so that his stock is always fresh and diverse. Prices range from $1 to over $25 if it’s a rare find, but many classic gems can be haggled for three to six bucks depending on their condition. His own favorite band? Dire Straits. I ask him if he happens to have “Money For Nothing,” which as an avid vinyl collector myself, I’ve been trying to track down. In under a minute he digs out a pristine copy from a seemingly random crate. “Eight dollars.”
With thousands of records surrounded by fishing lures and rods, antiquey lamps and a painting of cats that looks like it was unearthed from a 1970s basement, things might appear chaotic in the shop; but Piskorski keeps track in his head of which vinyl he’s got in stock and how fast each one sells. “I can’t run out of Led Zeppelin or The Grateful Dead,” he says, because those sorts of records form the classic rock foundation of the store’s assorted offering. Apparently most of the hip-hop records go out in front of the shop into $1 bins, because the’re not as popular as some of the other genres.
His records are sourced from private sellers, customers who want to make a few bucks, estate sales and vinyl dealers. “The cat’s out of the bag,” he says. “People who do the estate sales, they know that vinyls are hot,” so prices for wholesale records are steadily on the rise. He also occasionally sells specific records to other shop owners nearby at their request. He tells a story of a record store down the street calling him to see if he had several different Rolling Stones records; they needed them that day. He had them, and the shop clerk came and picked them up for a fair price to resell to one of their own customers.
At the moment records make up about twenty percent of the store’s sales, and Piskorski might expand a little, though he admits, “I need some more shelves. I’m running out of room.”
Dream Fishing Tackle (and antiques and record shop) is located at 673 Manhattan Avenue and is open every day.