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At Jan's in Yorkville, kit packages and fittings for miniature model boats, pocket-size planes, small soldiers, and the like are stacked floor-to-ceiling, waiting for the next pair of hands to come along and bring them to small-scale life. Manager Fred Hutchins's own obsession started at the age of 5 with plastic kits from Woolworth's. By the time he was a teenager, he noticed a for sale sign in a York Avenue hobby-shop window and persuaded his folks to buy the store. That was 1973. Today, the shop, which moved in 2003 to a bigger space on Lexington Avenue, attracts hobbyists and parents eager to tear their children away from the television. Many even arrange with Hutchins to have model-building birthday parties for up to 10 kids in the store’s dusty dungeon (his only rule: no food). Hutchins and his mom, Collette, are happy to share their architectural secrets. Or catch him on alternate Sunday mornings and some week days at the 72nd Street Model Boat Pond in Central Park, where he sails his remote-control ships for all to see.
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