25 Oct

If You Don’t Know, Now You Know: Brother Israel’s Record Shop in Bed-Stuy

** UPDATE **

After 20+ years, Brother Israel’s is another casualty of the raging gentrification in Bed Stuy; he closed a few months ago. He said he was looking for another spot and he had a couple of leads…but as of now it is gone. His business number is the same; if you know of any reasonable spaces, please give him a call! He is a Brooklyn treasure. 347.885.5611

I can’t remember when I happened upon Brother Israel’s Record Shop.

It has to be at least 15 years now. It’s hard to miss the miniature suit of armor holding a hand-painted “RECORDS” sign above a basement door painted bright yellow; a speaker at its feet blasts jazz or soul or blues. If you want to be transformed back to Bed Stuy circa 1975, this is the place–Black Love incense beckons you down the basement steps. If you’re also a chess buff, Brother Israel Ben Yahuda is always good for a game and great conversation about politics, Brooklyn back-in-the-day and of course, music. In addition to vinyl, he has cassettes and I’ve even spotted a few 8 tracks.

Brother Israel has always had loyal supporters though; there’s even a new movie short featuring the him and the shop called Lazarus, directed by Bed-Stuy Kate Cortesi that’s been making the festival circuits.

Oh–understand that he saves the best and rarest stuff for me. Just want to be clear. If you tell him I sent you, he might share some of it with you. 😉

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