The Ultimate Weekend!

Modeller's Paradise Weekend in New York

By Kevin Morgan

This visit came about as a result of frustration at the inability to obtain a certain model from one of our erstwhile UK distributors. A colleague in work had taken up the hobby a few months back and I suggested (tongue-in-cheek) that we would have more success popping over to New York and picking one up there. The next day he came back and said that he had received permission from his other half to go so there was no option other than to book the flights/hotel and plan our itinerary.

One of my other interests is baseball (Boston Red Sox) so the fact that the Red Sox would be in New York playing the Yankees over the weekend April 20/22 determined the time when we would go. Not only would I be able to spend time searching for interesting modelling items but I would also have a chance to go a see a couple of baseball games; thoughts of dying and going to heaven come to mind.

Some searching on the Internet located 6 hobby shops within a 5-mile radius of Manhattan and revealed that they could all be reached easily using the famous New York subway system. I will list these below and briefly describe what they had on offer:

America's Hobby Center America's Hobby Center
(AHC) 146 West 22nd Street between 6th and 7th Avenue.

In the centre of Manhattan AHC is so very easy to find. In fact I have visited this place numerous times over the years and was even recognised by Marshall (store manager) this time. For those of you that do not know this chap he is a real character; typical New Yorker, very brusque with people to the point of being rude.

It is worth browsing around the store and spending some time listening to him interacting with the clientele; substantially cheaper than a visit to a comedy club. Stocks a good range of kits/ARTFs together with a large selection of odds and ends. Also a large stock of glow and petrol engines. Marshall talked me into buying one of AHC's Megatech 46 engines ($70 on special) promising that it would perform well. I tested in last weekend and found that it was equal to my OS on a 10x7 prop. So no complaints there.

Most definitely worth a visit, the shop is far superior to what you would imagine from visiting the web-site. Airtronics and Hitec dealer, and as far as I could see a full selection of servos from these companies. Look out for the banner, as this is the only indication, apart from the door sign, that you are in the right place. Shop is located on first floor.

Mach 1 Hobbies. ( under construction)
249A West 29th Street between 7th and 8th Avenues.

This is within walking distance of AHC (about 7 minutes) and again is well worth a visit. Good selection of models in stock and Futaba/JR stockist.

Prices very competitive with some very good specials. The chap that runs the place will obtain items for you in advance if you e-mail him, worth knowing if there is a particular item that you are after. He assured me that if you give him a week to 10 days he can probably get anything that you are after.

This place is small enough to give you personnel service. Will have a web-site up and running soon.

HKS Hobby
17 Elizabeth Street located in Chinatown.

This place is situated in the back of a mall and is quite tricky to find. It was closed when we got there but appeared to cater exclusively for the R/C car market. Good place to have lunch though and is near South Street Seaport which is good for cooling off if its got a bit hot (reached 85 degrees C. when we were there).

Red Caboose
23 West 45th Street between 5th and 6th Avenues.

This place has every conceivable inch covered by model railway gear (bit of a give-away from the name really). It is literally packed from floor to ceiling and would be a Mecca if this were your scene. Apart from a good selection of tools, however, has little to offer the aircraft enthusiast. Shop is located in the basement of the block.

Phantom Sports and Hobbies
247 111th Street between 2nd and 3rd Avenues, Bronx.

This is located at the very top of Central Park. If you are on your own or of a nervous disposition you might feel intimidated in this area; it is rather run down and not the sort of place you would want to linger. Saying that nothing remotely untoward happened to us.

Shop has some model aircraft gear but was mainly associated with cars, bicycles and scooters. Was the only place that I saw a jet, there was an old Sabre hanging from the ceiling.

Bruckner Hobbies Bruckner Hobbies
( )
3587 East Tremont Avenue, Bronx.

This shop is the furthest from Manhattan but is worth going to - allow about 1 hour to get there. You will need to take the 6 train to Westchester Square/East Tremont Avenue and then a bus, or walk as we did for about 20 minutes, to get to the store. This is a very pleasant suburban area to walk through with numerous places to grab a coffee or bite to eat en-route.

The shop has a very good selection of all categories of modelling items. There was a vast selection of accessories with complete ranges from the more popular American companies. Also a complete range of larger pattern APC props.

All the tricky items I was after I managed to get here. Staff were very friendly and helpful especially the young chap who let me have the run of the place searching through all the bits and bobs.

So there you have it, how to go visit New York and see the Model Shops. I need to thank Steve who put up with me despite all the walking (he has since agreed that this is, however, the best way to see NY) and talking about baseball. We both bought kits to come back with, I bought a Thunder Tiger Tiger Stick 40 (Fun Fly) and Steve bought a Spectrum (Aerobatic). The Tiger Stick was about 30 cheaper than here and the Spectrun as yet is not available. The Tiger Stick I ended up with was different from the kit I had initially wanted so maybe there was no reason to go after all!

Just a couple of reminders. Beware of very large boxes, although they are light some airlines have an aggressive policy for charging for oversize items. Also respect customs and declare any items over and above your allowance. Most items still work out at a good deal even paying the surcharge this end. This is certainly the case for items from the American manufacturers, the differential is much less for Japanese goods.

Finally make sure that you leave a day spare to get some goodies for the better half and any offspring. If you don't you might not be allowed to go again!

This article has been written by
Kevin Morgan

Nottingham Radio Control Society

The Customs Allowances
For travellers arriving from outside the EU (including the Canary Islands, the Channel Islands and Gibraltar)

  • 200 cigarettes;
  • or 100 cigarillos;
  • or 50 cigars;
  • or 250 gms of tobacco.
  • 2 litres of still table wine.
  • 1 litre of spirits or strong liqueurs over 22% volume;
  • or 2 litres of fortified wine, sparkling wine or other liqueurs.
  • 60cc/ml of perfume. 250cc/ml of toilet water.
  • 145 worth of all other goods including gifts and souvenirs.

People under 17 cannot have the tobacco or alcohol allowance.

If you bring something in worth more than the limit of 145, you will have to pay charges on the full value, not just on the value above 145.

If you are travelling as a family or a group, you cannot pool your individual allowances towards an item worth more than the limit. You will have to pay charges on the full value of the item.

Please check these details before you travel. Or visit the Customs and Excise web site at: