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America's Hobby Center (NYC) Associated With Trainworld?

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America's Hobby Center (NYC) Associated With Trainworld?
Posted by fkrall on Sunday, April 03, 2011 11:28 AM

Cedarwoodron asked in a separate thread if AHC from the 60's was or is associated with Trainworld.

I don't believe so, as Trainworld, as others have said, is a family business located in the Baltimore area.

If AHC was the NYC hobby shop located below street level in NYC, I remember it too.  I used to love to go in there when I was armchair model railroading in the many years before I returned to the hobby a few years ago.  Well stocked; a fun place to visit!

Rick Krall

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Posted by retsignalmtr on Sunday, April 03, 2011 12:03 PM

AHC was on West 21st or 23rd street in Manhatten upstairs on the second floor. The train shop ltd was in the basment on East 45th st until the Red caboose took it over.

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Posted by AltonFan on Sunday, April 03, 2011 12:15 PM

Apparently, they're still around.  But they seem to be out of the mail order and scale model railroading business.

More information in some posts on this thread.

Dan

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Posted by fkrall on Sunday, April 03, 2011 1:38 PM

retsignalmtr, you're bringing it back.  I spent a lot of time midtown, and the 40s does make sense as the location for the hobby shop I remember.

Rick Krall

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Posted by cedarwoodron on Sunday, April 03, 2011 2:04 PM

I guess the thing that got me thinking was that I remember visiting the store in NYC and coming across some old MRs, I saw again those multi-page jam-packed ads they (AHC) used to place in MR- the ones that we, as kids, would pour over for hours. The Trainworld ads are similar in layout and that brought up the whole subject.

At any rate, I sure wish those old prices were still around- imagine, $10.98 for an 0-4-0 shifter?   (although I did pick an old Mantua 0-4-0 at a flea market recently that runs like a top- for $5.00!)

Cedarwoodron

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Posted by fkrall on Sunday, April 03, 2011 2:34 PM

Again, my memory as well.

Better, in fact, than my current memory.  My original post at the top of this thread is partially wrong--I was thinking of Model Train Stuff (MB Klein) that's the family business in the Baltimore area.  They may have a bricks and mortar LHS as well.  Another excellent on-line vendor, BTW (modeltrainstuff.com)

Rick Krall

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Posted by dknelson on Sunday, April 03, 2011 2:58 PM

The logo looks the same [edited post - I mean the AHC logo old and new looks the same; the AHC and trainworld logos do not look alike] so indeed it might be the same outfit, just moved across the river to NJ.

Back when I used to order from AHC, they were at 146 West 22nd St, New York NY.

I am looking at the January 1965 MR ad.  I bought the Revell trackside building set: a water tank and spout, interlocking tower, crossing tower, and shanty.  Price 99 cents. 

Other items that catch my eye:  The Tyco Pacific (metal) ready to run was $16.95.   The 0-4-0T "Booster" kit was $5.95.  AHC's  own "Amtron" brand of brass rail turnouts was $1.25.   Nickle silver was $1.95. 

Toggle switches.  SPST was 29 cents.   Athearn rubber band drive F unit was $3.98.

Just to put prices in proportion on the back cover Pacific Fast Mail was selling imported Japanese handmade Climax and Heisler models for $54.95.  And Madison Hardware was offering a Lionel 773 Hudson for $67.75.

Dave Nelson

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Posted by AltonFan on Sunday, April 03, 2011 3:03 PM

cedarwoodron

I saw again those multi-page jam-packed ads they (AHC) used to place in MR- the ones that we, as kids, would pour over for hours. The Trainworld ads are similar in layout and that brought up the whole subject.

The AHC ads had all those little pictures, and people said the ads looked like they hadn't changed in years.  I remember AHC either had two half pages or two full pages, and occasionally smaller ads (usually with a postal worker and a pointer back to their main ads) scattered through the rest of the issue.  When N scale took off, they had one page of HO and one of N.

I have a copy of a Model Airplane News from 1963, and there is the model airplane version of the AHC ad.  If you didn't look too closely, it looked just like the ads in the model railroad mags.

Dan

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Posted by oo-OO-OO-oo on Sunday, April 03, 2011 10:38 PM

I remember years ago having some sort of catalogue from AHC and it was filled with all kinds of stuff.

I remember looking at the multicylinder gas airplane engines and imagining what I could build with those.

There were also ships, planes, cars ...

Eric

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Posted by steemtrayn on Monday, April 04, 2011 10:26 AM

I live about two miles from AHC. Not much train stuff, some Bachmann , Model Power... stuff like that. I bought a Roundhouse box car kit (didn't want to leave empty -handed) that was displayed with the box inside it's inverted lid and shrinkwrapped. Opened it when I got home and found that the underframe was missing. Guess I won't be going there again.

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Posted by Mike Kieran on Monday, April 04, 2011 10:54 AM

American Hobby Center and Trainworld/Trainland are two different outfits. I understand that they are both distributors, but the Trainworld crew in Brooklyn is a family run business. There were 3 shops on 45th Street. There was The Red Caboose, The Train Shop (or as some of the local modelers called it, Ma Barker's), and The Roundhouse.

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Posted by CNJ831 on Monday, April 04, 2011 1:14 PM

Mike Kieran

American Hobby Center and Trainworld/Trainland are two different outfits. I understand that they are both distributors, but the Trainworld crew in Brooklyn is a family run business. There were 3 shops on 45th Street. There was The Red Caboose, The Train Shop (or as some of the local modelers called it, Ma Barker's), and The Roundhouse.

Correct...and The Roundhouse also had a satellite store up in Ardsley (Westchester County), as well. In addition, there was Polks Hobbies and Model Railroad Equipment in Manhattan around that same period. Polks was truly unbelievable, as hobby shops go, occupying a 5 or 6 story building with each floor devoted to a separate hobby!

Nowadays there really is nothing in the way of a train hobbyshop worth visiting Manhattan for.

CNJ831

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Posted by Mike Kieran on Monday, April 04, 2011 1:20 PM

Red Caboose always has interesting stuff. You just have to poke around.

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Posted by cedarwoodron on Tuesday, April 05, 2011 6:00 AM

As Charlie Brown used to do in the Peanuts comic: (sigh!)

Gone are the days, boys, gone are the days!

(except for the fun of going to a flea market every so often and getting BBs and other things old and used at bargain prices!)

Thanks for the responses- memories do become more vivid with time, don't they!

Cedarwoodron

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Posted by chutton01 on Tuesday, April 05, 2011 11:02 AM

cedarwoodron
Thanks for the responses- memories do become more vivid with time, don't they!


Don't know about that - I remember AHC during the funky Koch-era '80s NY as being a non-descript side-street building, second floor was the customer area, not particulary big, glass counters around 3 sides, not really memorable products on display. All the stuff was in the first floor - ok, the little elevator/dumb-waiter they used to ship things up to the 2nd floor was a bit memorable.

The Koch-era Red Caboose (4th floor location) can't be vivid - it was just too darn murky and dark as you stepped away from the sales counter (and seemed quite disorganized - I think the Cat handled the inventory stocking) - my memory is getting ever more creepy about it - wasn't there a big guy who wandered around in the back sometimes
"Little, Little, Hobby Shop of Horrors"

And the old-school Trainland in Lynbrook I think still had the big window display layout back in the 1980s (this is sad, as I visited that place dozens of times - it was just a bike ride away for a teenager - see, memories don't get more vivid w/ age!) - it seemed impressive to me back then, but it has been gone for decades  (whenever they remodeled), now I believe shelves of G-scale equipment occupy the area

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Posted by Mike Kieran on Tuesday, April 05, 2011 11:27 AM

The Red Caboose is the same at its new location in that it's crowded. If you wander around the shop though, you will find stuff that you either didn't know was produduced or hasn't been around for eons. It's a treasure hunt, just like that show American Pickers. The owner Alan might rub some the wrong way, but he's not a bad guy. Just quirky.

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Posted by farrellaa on Tuesday, April 05, 2011 5:01 PM

I bought a lot of my HO stuff from AHC back in the 50's and 60's, I even still have one of their catalogs (can't find it right now but I do have it!). I also still have the Mantua 4-6-2 kit and Roundhouse 0-6-0 kit that I bought from them. They had quite a complete line of kits, track, locos and detail parts; unlike todays retailers. Ah, the good old days! NOT! wouldn't trade todays models for those.

   - Bob

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Posted by wjstix on Tuesday, April 05, 2011 5:08 PM

fkrall

Cedarwoodron asked in a separate thread if AHC from the 60's was or is associated with Trainworld.

I don't believe so, as Trainworld, as others have said, is a family business located in the Baltimore area.

The only Trainworld I'm familiar with is in Brooklyn, not Baltimore. I used to buy Lionel stuff from Peter Bianco back when he just had a little ad in the classified section of Model Railroader, c.1973. It was later in the seventies that he started Trainworld, which has been a major MR advertiser for years now.

Stix

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