Antiquing on Main Street

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Hidden treasures of Port Washington

Chandeliers hang from the ceiling of Old Port Antiques. (Photo by Arien Dijkstra)

Main Street is a bustling thoroughfare through the heart of Port Washington. Filled with independent retail shops, dining establishments, local businesses and entertainment venues, the road is also home to several antique shops. Though Main Street is not the antiquing destination it used to be, there are still many treasures to be found.

Steven Stam, of Stam Gallery at 289 Main Street, has been in the antiquing business for 45 years. Formerly Giles Antiques, the business has been at the same location for decades, offering a constantly evolving selection of antique objects.

“The North Shore of Long Island is the best place to buy in the world,” says Stam, who obtains most of his items from local estates.

While a typical antique shop offers collectibles like Limoges cups and saucers and Depression glass, Stam Gallery carries museum-quality items, including 18th- and early 19th-century American furniture, art from the Renaissance and Baroque periods and rare Americana pieces. Recently, a desk he purchased from a Garden City couple became the centerpiece of an exhibition at Budapest’s Museum of Applied Art.

Stam has a particular fondness for Hungarian modern art and primitive American paintings from the first half of the 19th century and has made friends and repeat customers through these shared interests.

A trip to Stam Gallery is like a treasure hunt. Something among the mélange
will catch your eye.

Old Port Antiques is a lovely fixture on Main Street. (Photo by Kimberly Dijkstra)

MarkMurat Bilgé, of Old Port Antiques at 159 Main Street, bought his first antique piece of furniture at age 16. Born in Turkey, he grew up surrounded by museums and grand palaces showcasing fine sculptures and paintings. He developed an appreciation for art and turned his love for beautiful objects into a career.

“One of the largest handmade crystal chandeliers is hanging in the Dolmabahçe Palace in Istanbul,” Bilgé says. Weighing in at four tons, the monumental fixture inspires him.
In the shop, one can find antique chandeliers, late 18th-century furniture, mostly armoires, and rugs as many as 150 years old. In addition to antiques, Bilgé makes custom area rugs and chandeliers to the customer’s specifications.

Objects old and new are on display in the showroom, including a genuine Oushak rug woven from enduring black wool and lustrous gold silk. Hanging from the ceiling are dozens of resplendent chandeliers, created with the same techniques used centuries ago. Craftspeople in Bilgé’s small workshop in Turkey hand-swirl glass arms and hand-cut crystal prisms with precision. Assembly takes place stateside.

On your next stroll down Main Street, visit Stam Gallery and Old Port Antiques. Also pop into Bubba Brown’s Treasures, 302 Main Street, and House of Crystal, 268 Main Street, for more artifacts of a bygone era.

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Kimberly Dijkstra is the web editor for Anton Media Group and contributing writer to Long Island Weekly.

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