Park Avenue Audio, a kinder and gentler high-end store
If high-end audio shops can be a little intimidating for first-time shoppers, New York City's Park Avenue Audio would be a great place to start.
When I first met Dennis Yetikyel at Park Avenue Audio last year, I didn't realize he was the owner of the store. He's so laid-back and easygoing I just thought he was one of the guys who worked there. The store was founded in 1976 as a family business by Yetikyel's granddad, so it's definitely a mainstay in the New York City high-end audio scene. Yetikyel started working at Park when he was 16; he now heads a staff of eighteen people.
Park has a welcoming vibe and a carefully selected roster of brands for its hi-fi, home theater, and multiroom customers to peruse. Hi-fi system prices start around $1,200; home theaters begin at $2,000. Park also regularly designs installations that run to hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Park sells theI raved about a few months ago; another old favorite line, Snell Acoustics; and Leon Speakers, a new name to me. That last company custom builds speakers to match the look of any flat-screen TV. The custom approach isn't limited to the cosmetic design; Leon Speakers also uses a selection of high-quality tweeters and woofers, so the sound quality is also customizable. Leon Speakers also offers a line of flat, wall-mountable subwoofers.
Park sells Seura LCD panel TVs, which I was surprised to see have mirror-finish screens, so when they're not turned on the TV looks like a mirror. Great if you're going for a stealth look; the TV disappears when it's off. That's cool.
Audiophiles can check out the sounds from McIntosh, a truly legendary name in high-end audio, and more affordable electronics from Marantz and NAD.