As an antiques dealer, David Duncan is usually focused on the past. But 10 years ago, he looked into the future and concluded the only way to guarantee his survival as a Manhattan shopkeeper was to own his own building.
His search was both simple and difficult because he was interested in buying on only one block: East 60th Street between Second and Third Avenues.
“This neighborhood has been the design center of New York for decades and this block has long been home to antiques dealers,” said Mr. Duncan, 51, who stumbled upon the row in 1980, when he first visited Manhattan as a college student. “I saw this storefront belonging to Arthur Smith, one of Billy Baldwin’s protégés, who sold antiques in the old-fashioned English tradition of a decorator running a design business from a shop. It made a big impression on me.”
Mr. Duncan moved to Manhattan in 1984, but his initial shop was in Tarrytown, N.Y. In 1990, he rented his first storefront on East 60th Street next door to Serendipity 3, the quirky destination cafe that’s famous for its frozen hot chocolate.
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