A European treasure house comes to Port Washington

A European treasure house comes to Port Washington
European Decorative Arts has opened at the corner of Main Street and Shore Road in Port Washington. (Photo by Jasmine Sellars)

In the heart of Port Washington, a beacon of elegance and history has just emerged as the European Decorative Arts Company brings its masterpieces for all of Long Island and beyond to admire. The new store, owned by seasoned antique dealer Scott Defrin, beckons both locals and travelers to discover the allure of centuries past preserved within its walls. It sits on the corner of Main Street and Shore Road, a busy intersection right near Manhasset Bay, perfect for newcomers looking for a unique browsing experience.

“I hope that it brings back what Port Washington used to be in this area,” Defrin said. “It used to be a very big art antique area and it’s sort of gone away within the last 15 to 20 years. I think that we’re basically bringing back what used to be a very significant part of the antique trade. There were a lot of antique dealers here a long time ago and they also had a lot of antique fairs on this street. So I hope to revive, in a way, what used to be here.”

The jewel haven, which moved into town in February, represents a full-circle moment for the Long Island native, who said his father, an antique collector and clock lover, inspired him to embark on his career.

“My father didn’t know about this particular store because he passed away two years ago, but he knew about my other stores in Greenvale and Manhattan,” Defrin said. “I probably wouldn’t have really gotten into the antique world if it wasn’t for him and my mother. He bought his first antique object as a result of Main Street in Port Washington.”

The store celebrated its grand opening last Wednesday, welcoming the community to admire and purchase some of the finest European antique goods. The Port Washington Chamber of Commerce hosted the opening in celebration of the town’s new addition. The chamber invited several elected officials, including Town Council Member Mariann Dalimonte, Town Supervisor Jennifer DeSena, Manorhaven Village Mayor John Popeleski, state Assembly Member Gina Sillitti and many more.

“It was a terrific event,” Port Washington Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Bobbie Polay said. “We’re welcoming this beautiful new store to the business community in Port Washington. And it’s a wonderful addition. Scott made everybody feel very welcome and we were just very happy to welcome him.”

The company, founded in 1996, has been featured in several store fronts in the Greater New York Area, including Defrin’s prior shop in Greenvale and his gallery in Manhattan, which he owned for 18 years.
The Port Wash store now showcases plenty of attractive artifacts, ranging from antique statues, clocks, pottery, jewelry boxes, dinnerware sets, lamps, furniture and plenty of items that date back to hundreds of years ago. The shop’s inventory reflects Defrin’s discerning eye for quality and authenticity.

From the grand “Monumental Centerpiece Jardiniere” to smaller antiques like the boxwood carving depicting “The Adoration of the Magi,” it seems every item has been collected and put on the sales floor for its beauty and historical significance.

Before the new antique store made its way to Port Wash, Defrin said the space had a long history of welcoming influential businesses, including the beloved A.C. Bayles drugstore, a community staple which was built in 1914. The space was also home to the Dolphin Bookshop, known for its book readings and signings, cafe, gifts, toys, Friday night live music events and much more. The book store closed in 2022, after 76 years.

“Bayles was very instrumental in developing Port Washington,” Defrin said. “That particular store was one of the first stores in that area to even have a phone. His name is in the walkway of the store as soon as you walk in. You’ll find a lot of streets named after him because he was a very important fixture of the community.”

Inspired by his father’s passion for antique collecting, Defrin followed in his footsteps and joined The Art and Antique Dealers League of America in 2002. It is known as the oldest and principal antiques and fine arts organization in America, where Defrin is currently an executive committee member.

“When I became president about 20 years ago, that’s when I first interacted with Scott and eventually put him on the board,” AADLA Co-President Clinton Howell said. He is also the founder of his own shop, Clinton Howell Antiques.

“He’s thoughtful, a very good dealer of European decorative arts,” Howell said. “In my own experience, if you’re good at what you do, people will seek you out. It’s a complicated field and Scott does it extremely well.”

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