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.
Best Hobby Shop
From the 2004 Best of New York issue of New York Magazine
So what exactly does “best” mean in a city with thousands of pizza joints, hundreds of celebrity masseuses, and museum-worthy concept shops on every corner? Well, in the case of this, our annual “Best of New York” roundup, there’s a heavy emphasis on what’s new or what has somehow remained virtually unheard of (until now, of course).