City Scenes: Jerry’s Records in Squirrel Hill

Jerry’s Records has been on my Pittsburgh to-do list ever since I first arrived in the city many years ago. My personal preferences in urban media spaces tend toward film venues, bookstores, and art galleries. Record stores typically don’t make it on my itinerary. When I was still buying CDs I would make it a point to peruse music shop shelves, but that seems like a previous life now and I never got into collecting vinyl. But Jerry’s is a local institution: a longtime independent shop and neighborhood fixture that was renowned for its enormous collection.

As is so often the case with the people and places that are so near-at-hand that they become taken for granted, I kept putting off a visit to Jerry’s until some indeterminate point in the future. Even when I moved to Squirrel Hill, and was living just down the street from Jerry’s, my appointment with the shop was relegated to “someday.” Proximity and familiarity tend to produce indifference, as that which is right in front of us is so easily overlooked. So when my musically-inclined sister and brother-in-law visited this summer it provided a perfect opportunity for finally ascending to record heaven.

The shop is an expansive space that nearly overwhelms with its sprawling assortment and towering stacks. Musical genres and themed sections are helpfully and whimsically designated with colorful decor.

Oh, and did I mention the milk crates? As I’ve reported previously, these polyethylene receptacles have recently become somewhat of a personal obsession. The portable, versatile, and stackable storage containers are put to good use throughout the record shop.

My developing milk crate connoisseurship has inculcated an appreciation for varieties of color and form, but I’m also keen on the different legal warnings against misuse that adorn the objects. The nooks and crannies of Jerry’s offered a veritable milk crate menagerie.

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