New York: An antiques empire

By Susan Eberman – For Antique Trader

New York City

The Big Apple is 341 square miles of glittering skyscrapers, bright lights and more than 6,000 miles of streets. It consists of five boroughs: Manhattan, the Bronx, Queens, Brooklyn and Staten Island. Most of the major tourist sites are in Manhattan.

Among the many attractions of interest to antique and art aficionados to be found in Manhattan is the Frick Collection, the priceless artworks acquired by steel magnate Henry Clay Frick and housed in his lavish mansion. A tour provides a glimpse of how the very wealthy lived during the Gilded Age.

Dedicated to medieval art, The Cloisters was built from the actual ruins of French monasteries. Other world-class art collections are in the Museum of Modern Art, The Whitney Museum of American Art, the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum.
Built in 1832 in East Village, the Merchant’s House Museum is a unique survivor of old New York. It is New York City’s only family home preserved intact — inside and out — from the 19th century. Home to the family of prosperous merchant Seabury Tredwell for almost 100 years, it is complete with its original furnishings.


Once home to the Iroquois Indians, New York’s third-largest urban area is the home base for both Kodak and Xerox. The George Eastman home, a 50-room National Historic Landmark, was the home of Eastman Kodak’s founder from 1905 until 1932. It exhibits both Eastman’s outstanding personal belongings and a modern museum of photographic artifacts. 
Susan B. Anthony, one of the women responsible for getting women the right to vote, lived in a modest Rochester home from 1866 until her death in 1906. Tours show original furnishings and photographs of great Suffrage marches.

The Strong Museum, a leading hands-on history center for adults and children, emphasizes items used in everyday life from 1820 through the present time. Many of the 500,000 items originally belonged to museum founder Margaret Strong. The second floor showcases the world’s largest museum collection of dolls and other extraordinary antiques.

Hudson River Valley

The Franklin D. Roosevelt National Historic Site and the Eleanor Roosevelt National Historic Site document the life and accomplishments of America’s 32nd president and one of America’s most noteworthy first ladies. Look for lavish French furniture and art in the fully furnished 54-room Vanderbilt Mansion, also in Hyde Park. Sunny Side, a National Historic Landmark in Tarrytown, N.Y., is the meticulously restored gabled  home of author Washington Irving, best remembered for The Legend of Sleepy Hollow and Rip Van Winkle.


The gateway to the Finger Lakes Region, Corning is known as the Crystal City because Corning Glass Co. is headquartered there. The Corning Museum of Glass is dedicated to the art, history, science and exhibition of glass. After you’ve watched glass being made on the Hot Glass Stage and browsed the galleries to see what the world’s finest glass artists have created, roll up your sleeves and make your own masterpiece. Special exhibitions titled Glass of the Maharajahs: European Cut Glass Furniture for Indian Royalty and Splitting the Rainbow: Cut Glass in Color will be on display until November. Corning is also home to the Rockwell Museum of Western Art, which has one of the largest and most distinguished collections of Old West and Native American art in the United States.


Reminisce about everyone’s favorite redhead at the world’s only museum dedicated to Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz. The Lucy-Desi Museum features exhibits, interactive displays of memorabilia, items from Lucy and Desi’s personal estate and a gift shop. Originally built in 1881 as an Opera House, the Lucille Ball Little Theatre hosts live stage productions. Community-wide annual events include Lucy-Desi Days in May and Lucy’s birthday celebration in August.


The newly renovated National Baseball Hall of Fame is a must-see. Look at memorabilia from baseball greats of the past 150 years and learn more about America’s favorite pastime through interactive displays and special exhibits. The Fenimore Art Museum has a fine collection of Native America artifacts, folk art and Hudson River School paintings.

Let’s Go Shopping!

The Big Apple is definitely the place to shop till you drop. Visit the upscale establishment of Antiques Roadshow appraiser Leigh Keno for 18th- and 19th-century American furniture and decorative arts. Bernard & S. Dean Levy Inc. has been serving private and museum clients for more than a century; it’s a recommended stop for superior-quality Colonial and Federal antiques. Visit Posteritati Vintage Movie Posters for a great selection of memorabilia from the silver screen.

Numerous New York City’s antique shops are located on Broadway south of Union Square, in the south Bronx, Greenwich Village and the Upper East Side. Bibliophiles won’t want to miss the great selection of book dealers with used and out-of-print books clustered around West 18th and West 19th9th streets, between Fifth and Sixth avenues.

Well-known as a scenic resort area in the Catskills, Monticello is also a great place for antiquing. Go online or send for a pamphlet to learn about the 17 antique shops near this Sullivan County community. Other Catskills communities known for their antique shops include Phoenicia and Callicoon. The Hudson Valley communities of Millbrook, Red Hook, Beacon and Rhinebeck offer a selection of interesting antique shops well worth exploring.

Antique World Market, a 200-acre complex with more than 100,000 square feet in 10 buildings, is in Clarence, which is 15 miles east of Buffalo. In business for 25 years, they have a variety of special events on most summer weekends. The Occupied Attic in Ballston Lake deals exclusively with high-quality marked Occupied Japan treasures, from porcelain to jewelry to toys. Greenwich Hardware Antiques in Greenwich has 18th- and 19th-century country furniture beautifully displayed in a restored 1860s building.