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Best of New York Family 2004

Best Hobby Shop

  • Jan’s

    1435 Lexington Avenue, 212-987-4765

    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 last year to a bigger space on Lexington Avenue, attracts hobbyists and parents eager to tear their children away from the television. Two even persuaded Hutchins to have their kids’ model-building birthday parties 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 Sundays at the 72nd Street Model Boathouse in Central Park, where he sails his remote-control ships for all to see.

From the 2004 Best of New York issue of New York Magazine

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