I work in New York City, lived there most of my life and have had the advantage of being able to sample tons of fantastic equipment throughout my life. The place is a fantasy land. I've been exposed to top flight audio equipment since I was a kid which had a hand in my becoming an electrical engineer. Over the years you no longer see as many places that you could just walk in and sample anything you could imagine, but there's still plenty of places left.
When I was a teenager, very long ago, I got a Garrad turntable, Shure V15 type II cartridge and built my own RIAA preamp so I could really listen to LP's, and not use a lousy vinyl destroying ceramic cartridge that didn't even sound decent.