By Robert Beck
I don’t think you could put anything else in this store and still have space for a customer. The name More & More does a great job of describing what’s inside. It takes a moment for your senses to calibrate and the visual buzz to subside. You are surrounded by things displayed high on the sides and hanging from the ceiling. Stuff is everywhere. And not just a lot; it’s all different and interesting.
My favorites were the glass birds with plumage tails, suspended just above your head right inside the front door. The remaining overhead is occupied by ornaments, chandeliers, and exotic dangling thingies. I kept finding more favorites.
There is constant chatter between the owner, Steve, and customers. A lot of them are regulars. Some are getting jewelry fixed or made. If the woman from Helsinki can’t find a small blue elephant with wings for her sister’s collection, Steve’s probably got one downstairs, or maybe she just didn’t see it amid the More.
What started as an antiques store decades ago turned over time into a place where somebody can drop in and find a small gift for anyone. Books, linens, plates, hats, gloves, tchotchkes, remakes of old toys, necklaces, bracelets, statues, cards, cookies, candies, dolls, mugs, soap, candles, wood spoons, boxes, and . . . well . . . More. All clean and orderly, but it’s tight.
At Christmas, it’s like Santa’s Workshop Outlet for adult Upper West Siders. You want rare or original ornaments? Right here. Giraffes, dragons, origami birds, traditional balls, hamburgers, moons, Eiffel Towers, and things I have no idea what they are. Plus, figurines, big and small.
My first concern was finding a place to set up. “Where do you want to paint?” Steve asked. I told him I liked a spot in back, but it would block the aisle. “They can walk around the other way,” he said. Steve has a make-it-work attitude, and he didn’t flinch when I unfolded my French easel and threaded the legs into the displays on either side.
The customers had no problem shopping around me. I was just one More thing in a highly unusual environment. The guy painting under the flamingo ornament. Next to the crocheted blue dinosaur with a beret.
A lady stepped up to the register and handed Steve a book on Shakespeare, but her head kept swiveling around the room. “Look at all this,” she said. The next customer in line chuckled, shook her head, and said, “You should have seen it before Christmas.”
“So what do you do now?” the lady asked Steve. “Next week, I take it down,” he said. “Take it down,” she mouthed quietly, looking at the ceiling, trying to imagine. He folded tissue paper around her purchase and taped the ends. “Valentine’s Day,” he said and slid it into a bag.
More & More Antiques is located at 378 Amsterdam Avenue, on the southwest corner of West 78th Street.
See more of Robert Beck’s work and his UWS studio by visiting www.robertbeck.net And let Robert know if you have a connection to an archetypal UWS place or event that would make a good West Side Canvas subject. Thank you!
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