“The truth is there are a lot of records which are never going to touch a turntable again,” says Dave Hoenack, co-owner of Hymie’s Vintage Records. “And we're just trying to keep them out of the landfill a little longer — how many Bill Cosby albums do you think we've sold this year?”
There are a number of ways Hymie’s keeps those records from the trash bin. One is by donating immovable records, such as the aforementioned Cosby records, but another is with their semi-regular Free Records Days.
With a two-mile stretch of East Lake closed off for Open Streets on Sunday, 11 a.m.-5 p.m., Hymie’s saw the perfect opportunity to unload some treasures, some turds, and some that fall into that mysterious space in between. There are garage sale standards like Johnny Mathis, Christmas albums, and Herb Alpert, forgotten ’80s time capsules like Eddie Money and Culture Club, plus too many polka compilations to shake a stick at, and oh so much more.
The eclectic store is known for its huge selection of music — “There's more than a quarter of a million records in the shop on a day to day basis, and they're always moving,” Hoenack notes — and also for its playful approach, from blogging honest opinions on records to organizing them in entertaining ways. Hymie's “Awkward Christian Records” section was a recent talking point on Reddit, and its “Difficult Listening” section is always a conversation starter. And that’s the perfect table setting for the free records bin. Yes, some have that great forgotten hit, and others are just ridiculous artwork, but there’s always a place to add to that collection. “Obviously people buy records for reasons beyond their potential playback, otherwise there wouldn't be people spending a hundred dollars online for a copy of Metal Machine Music,” Hoenack says pointedly.
Featuring live (free) music from Tree Party (1 p.m.), Hymie’s gives us another reason to visit East Lake Street this weekend. Open Streets will be a great showcase of the booming neighborhood, one that Hoenack feels has prospered without the extra recognition. “It's amazing how much has happened in the six years since we settled into this space,” he says. “What you're seeing here is honest, grassroots development — and a lot of blood, sweat, and toil — and that's why it's been so successful.”