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Israel's Record Shop Closing After 20 Years on Fulton Street, Owner Says

By Camille Bautista | March 30, 2016 11:52am
 The underground record store with an expansive collection will close by the end of April, the owner said.   
Israel's Record Shop
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BEDFORD-STUYVESANT — Hidden beneath a sidewalk cellar door on Fulton Street is an underground haven for music lovers, with thousands of vinyl records stacked in shelves and crates.

But the albums will soon have to find a new home with the impending closure of Israel’s Record Shop, according to store owner Israel Ben Yahuda.

After 20 years offering selections of reggae, soul, rock, jazz, disco and more out of the basement of 1118 Fulton, the business will close by the end of April.

Yahuda heard news from the building’s owner that the property had to be emptied out, he said, with reported plans to sell. The shop's planned closure was first reported by The Brooklyn Paper.

For decades, the shop has been a fixture along the commercial strip and was most recently spotlighted in an independent film by Bedford-Stuyvesant resident Kate Cortesi.

“The store is sort of a vault and archive that you just want to soak up — it’s just too precious,” Cortesi previously told DNAinfo.

“There’s this fear we all have that the Israels of New York are vanishing and I think that’s part of the urge to point a camera at it. Let there be a record of the magic.”

A knight stands guard of the store at street level with a sign reading “RECORDS,” and a colorful placard above the entrance leads down to a staircase decorated with an assortment of knick knacks and Roberta Flack covers. Soul and disco music play from a speaker outside, beckoning customers in.

Inside, the black and white tiled floor is mostly covered with boxes and bins of rare and modern records, with everything from Muddy Waters’ ‘Fathers and Sons’ and Eric B. and Rakim, to Britney Spears. The ceiling is patterned with even more album covers.

Yahuda is looking to sell off his entire record collection, he said, adding that he hopes people come out and support the shop during its last days.