That time, that uber-cool time when you’re cruising down an unknown road and an unforgettable spectacle catches your eye. Excitement builds, and you know passing by without at least a picture or two will haunt you. Next clear chance in traffic you’ve gotta’ turn back, you’ve gotta’ stop- and once in a while stopping’s even better than you hoped.
One of those moments popped up while wheeling through the Catskills on Rt 28 in New York. Had it been a movie, it would have been a slow-motion pan of me staring at a yard full of shiny wonder. Rocket ships and UFOs, metal dragons, flowers and guitars, and a custom car that might have come from a Jetsons cartoon. A veritable wonderland of imagination in steel- with signs inviting us to take pictures and share! We’d found Steve Heller’s Fabulous Furniture, and faboo it is!
Sci-Fi sculptures surround the building, some shiny and polished, others rusted au naturel. A tall silver rocket on one side of the parking lot, a “Roswell or Bust” alien ship on the other, straight from the golden age of Sci-Fi. Car parts compromise a variety of “flying” sculptures throughout, many beautifully painted and lit with automotive lights on their prominent 50’s fins. A rolling dragon made primarily of wrenches, once an Artist’s Soapbox Derby winner, guards the front door of the shop. Remarkable displays, and we’ve not yet stepped through the door!
Once inside, Mr. Heller’s other passion comes to light: He is a master with natural woods. His metal work is whimsical, his wooden furnishings and creations are gorgeous. If the store (really a museum) is open, chances are good you’ll be speaking with Mr. Heller. I learned wooden creations are the artist’s first love. He chooses deadfall or rotted timber, products most would ignore, for added the natural beauty of the imperfect. The natural creations share space with the metal, often intermingling. His metal art came from the need to clear stock left behind by his antique dealer father. Where most would see junk, Heller found art waiting to happen.
Somewhere along the way, customizing cars took a natural place beside his other creations. Like a modern George Barris, his “futurized” Dodge Magnums are stunning examples of his vision and have won awards and accolades. It would be fascinating to see what he might do with something like our Victory Vision, a unique vehicle in its own right! Both Magnums were in the lot on the day we visited, Cro-Magnum and Fintasia 2 (Fintasia 1 is a custom ‘59 Cadillac), both show worthy and ready. The cars would have been reason enough for our stop!
For a quick stop, we spent nearly an hour taking in the wonder. Not sure Prettywife was as taken by it all (maybe all that metal is a more a “guy thing”?), but I could have spent longer. My only suggestion for your stop is you might want to bring a deeper wallet than we carried- art is never inexpensive! We were on a quest for a perfect mountain view when we happened upon Steve Heller’s Fabulous Furniture- and it was a marvelous view unto itself!
Keep Riding Local, Dreaming Global, and rolling safe. See you on the road!