Although it seems like the New York Times runs a story every three years trumpeting vinyl's triumphant return, McGrath doesn't think what his store sells is a trend item — records never went away. "My enthusiasm never waned," he said, pointing out what he calls analog audio's "soul-nourishing" qualities.

After we finish our coffee, we head back to the store and chat under a neon Jimi Hendrix poster McGrath has owned since high school. He catches up with a gray-haired regular as I look through the considerable Schubert stock, divided into octets, quintets, and miscellaneous symphonies.

When the regular goes back to browsing, McGrath turns to me and winks.

"This is what I do," he says. "Hanging out with freaks and playing with records — what could be better than that?"

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