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A, C, G at Hoyt-Schermerhorn Sts.
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Of the myriad antique shops lining Atlantic Avenue, Willie's Antiques is one that's more junk shop than museum gallery. At least upon first inspection: The tight space is crammed from wall to wall—and almost from floor to ceiling—with beautiful hardwood 19th Century American and European furniture. Customers must carefully toe a narrow path carved out amidst tufted sofas, inlaid tables, glass-front china cabinets, and carved chairs, taking care not to bump into any clocks, china figures, porcelain dishware, or table lamps. Pegboard lines most of the walls, on which hang framed paintings, lighting sconces, and gilt and wood mirrors, while crystal chandeliers, dripping with prisms, rain from the ceiling. Behind one wall of goods you can make out owner Vilmos "Willie" Gruenbaum's office: A desk and chair with a computer, and a 1955 nudie calendar pinned up on the wall. Much of the stock is in fine condition, but plenty is in need of repair. Luckily, amidst all this mania is magic, for it is Willie's expertise as a furniture doctor—not as a dealer—that is really his claim to fame: He specializes in antique restoration and conservation, French polishing (a specialized technique using shellac) and reupholstering.
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