Longtime antiques dealer Charles Glasner and lifelong antiques collector Vivian Yess Wadlin have teamed up to open a “pop-up” antiques and collectibles shop in Highland. The temporary store is open Fridays through Sundays from noon to 7 p.m. or by appointment through the month of May. “Or if you’re in the neighborhood,” says Wadlin, “give one of us a call and we’ll come over.” And if things go well, the shopkeepers may decide to make arrangements permanent.
Located in the former Rizzi’s jewelry store at 76 Vineyard Avenue in the hamlet, the cozy shop is nestled in between neighborhood veteran Vigneto Café and the recently opened urban chic of Underground Coffee & Ales. The location, with successful businesses on either side of them, is a big part of why Glasner and Wadlin decided to open the business there. In addition to being longtime residents of Highland, both are members of the Town of Lloyd Economic Development Committee — Wadlin is secretary and Glasner chairman — and they want to give more than lip service to encouraging the growth in business the hamlet has seen in the past year. “We’ve been talking about the reasons why this town is important,” says Glasner, “and this is kind of putting our money where our mouth is.”
Now that the Walkway Over the Hudson brings so many more people to the area, he adds, “We have a lot of people walking by. There are committees in other towns around here that say, ‘We wish we were in Highland, because you have the Walkway.’ So we’re trying to get people to understand the impact of little bits of increase in economic development that come when more businesses open.”
In the short time they’ve been on Vineyard Avenue, Glasner and Wadlin both have stories about people who came to the hamlet for one business and ended up patronizing another. People coming for coffee next door regularly make their way into the antiques shop, Wadlin says, and with the new brew pub slated to come into the hamlet soon, they think things are going to get even better. The World Oyama Karate studio recently moved into the neighborhood, as did the Floyd Patterson Boxing Club operated by the boxing legend’s son, Tracy, in 2,000 square feet of space over Highland’s United Methodist Church. “With Sal’s Place and Elia’s Meat Market and the [Stage to Screen] acting studio along with all the rest,” says Wadlin, “we’ve reached that critical mass moment where we have a downtown, and it’s worth a walk through the village.”
“The reason we’re here is to add to the civic pride in the town,” Glasner says. “Historically, people walk through a town and it always looks the same until one day, you wake up and realize that over time, everything has changed. Twenty years ago we had an old railroad bridge that was falling apart, and now it’s the Walkway. Back then, people talked about ‘what if’ and now it’s a reality. And it’s little baby steps that make change.”
The two are also longtime members of the Town of Lloyd Historical Preservation Society (Wadlin currently the group’s vice president and Glasner its president). The merchandise carried in their shop comes from the extensive antiques collections of both.
A collector since age 12, Glasner has nearly four decades of experience selling antiques; 30 years in New Paltz and currently as proprietor of Hudson River Antiques, one of multiple shops within the Rhinebeck Antique Emporium (which is actually located in Staastburg on Route 9). He specializes in antique furniture and fine art, particularly Hudson Valley paintings. Glasner’s contributions to the new shop in Highland include paintings, framed and unframed artwork, small furniture, quilts, glassware, stoneware and ephemera.
Wadlin’s About Town publication covering local history is in its 33rd year and she is co-author of Around Highland, an Arcadia Publishing book based on her extensive collection of antique postcards. A native of New Paltz, she’s lived in Highland for most of her life. Wadlin won’t be breaking up her postcard collection for sale, but she does have multiples of some cards as well as duplicates of some of her antique toy collection, including a charming Schuco brand (from Germany) wind-up mouse that turns somersaults and has a sweet face that looks just like “Piglet” from Winnie the Pooh. It’s a duplicate of an identical toy mouse she received as a gift, but Wadlin says that one is special to her and isn’t for sale; she never sells anything someone gave her as a gift.
The now defunct Vintage Village in Highland used to have a museum within containing toys from Wadlin’s collection. This is the first time in 40 years that some of those items will be sold. The two pedal cars in the shop window — one an American-made Murray from 1939 and the other a similar vintage European-made toy car — are but a taste of the many more original and restored pedal cars, tricycles and toy tractors Wadlin has in storage. She’s always liked cars, she says, and her father was a mechanic who had a midget racing car back in the ’30s before she was born. He’d picked up a pedal car from the dump and just had it lying around in his yard when she rescued it and took it to a local auto bodywork place where its beauty was revealed in its restoration. (And the man who fixed it up for her said it was made of better steel than the Saab she was driving at the time.) That was the first pedal car in her collection, and the interest remains; Wadlin says the most recent antique she purchased was another pedal car. The priciest car in her collection would sell for $2,700; an Austin J40 two-seater from England built by Welsh coal miners from Austin-car- company spare metal.
In addition to the antique toys, Wadlin has for sale a number of dolls and some fine examples of Mexican silver jewelry, some of it 1950s-era. And for anyone who is already feeling pangs from Downton Abbey recently having ended its run on PBS, a trip to the Highland shop to see Wadlin’s vintage 1920s beaded handbags is worth the visit alone. Her collection includes some stellar examples of vintage purses, including an artfully draped swingy mesh number and a chatelaine with a tiny bag attached, meant to be worn at the waist.
Wadlin and Glasner plan to also sell on eBay through the shop and through Toy World magazine. Whether the two keep the antiques and collectibles shop running after May will depend on how it goes. “The more we get inspired by people coming in, the more we may be inspired to stay here,” Glasner says.
To make an appointment to visit the shop off-hours, call 527-5859 or 332-5427.