In another era, Rough Trade NYC might have made more sense—namely one in which the only way to hear recorded music was to buy it on plastic discs. But in 2013, the 15,000-square-foot new Williamsburg record store stands as an airplane-hangar-size anachronism. Still, if you visit only one monument to the hipster fetishization of physical music media this winter, it should be this one. The wacky optimism of the endeavor is most of the appeal, but there’s also the well-curated, Pitchfork-approved stock (need a copy of that Flaming Lips–Tame Impala split EP? How about the new Palma Violets single?) and friendly staff (shockingly nonjudgmental when you just need a holiday gift for your dad), which make for a more pleasant shopping experience than you ever had at Tower Records (R.I.P.).
And in fairness, the store’s long-term prospects might not be hopeless. Rough Trade’s London locations have enjoyed double-digit sales growth every year since 2007. And this particular store’s interests are reasonably diversified: Rough Trade NYC will eventually feature an in-store café, operated by the team behind Greenpoint’s Five Leaves, and a 250-capacity live-music venue. So go see it, but maybe go soon.