Image by Geoffrey Dunbar

The Red Caboose – Model train shop

Two things I’d like to have again in my life is a cat and a model train. But I live in a one-bedroom apartment, so no cat, no train.

Instead, I go to this model train shop in New York to peruse and reminisce. Before I got my childhood Lionel, I dreamed about an HO layout. Here, they’ve got both, and other scales I’ve never heard of.

Of the only two (that I know of) New York shops remaining, the Red Caboose on West 45th Street is one with a landmark: the constant sound of a train whistle marks the proximity of the front door. You’ll hear it before you see it: behind the hard to spot portal, which opens into a hallway, leading down a narrow stairway, down, down to the basement is the shop so packed with stuff, your puffy jacket might be an obstruction.

The boss, Al Spitz, and his assistant, the Professor, banter, bicker, yell at each other and sometimes at customers. It reminds me of an old NY delicatessen.

Another shop, Trainworld, is out on Long Island with a warehouse in Brooklyn. I’ve been to Brooklyn too, but it has been reconfigured and is less a showoff than its other location.

I rarely pass an old-style hobby/toy store without going in because there are so few left.

And check the photo above: those are HO scale inhabitants of your model train’s village red light district. Other similar figures and positions available. No kidding.

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Details about this spot

Categories

Address

23 W. 45th St, New York

Telephone number

+12125750155

Opening Times

Mon - Fri 11:00 - 19:00, Sat 11:00 - 17:00

Price

Figurines: US$ 20

Website

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Last Changed Date: 2016-05-19 11:45:13 +0200 (Thu, 19 May 2016)