Things I’d like to have again in my life are 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, a 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 a 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, they even have HO scale inhabitants for your model train’s village red light district. No kidding.