April 24, 2014 By Christian Murray
Abdel Rios, the owner of Skillman Pets, is an avid historian—and he often dresses up his front windows with elaborate exhibits featuring 20th Century history.
Rios, who unveiled a 1960s exhibit on Sunday, has covered most of the past century since he opened Skillman Pets at the end of 2010.
“I’ve done the 30s, 40s, 50s, 60s, Christmas, Halloween and Thanksgiving,” Rios said. And he doesn’t do them in half measure. “I typically spend about $1,500 on each of them and a lot of time on eBay.”
His 1960s exhibit features a reporter. He showcases a newsroom desk and chair from the era, a 1963 IBM Selectric typewriter, a Parker Pen, a thermos and a Nikon F1 camera. He even has a packet of cigarettes on the desk and a whiskey flask in the desk draw.
“I get most of these things online but I had to go to Trenton, NJ, to get the desk,” Rios said. As part of the reporter display, he has pictures of historic events such as the moon landing and images from the Vietnam War.
Rios, in a different front window, has pictures of many of the great entertainers from the 1960s, well-known board games of that period and 60s clothing. He has posters of famous TV stars of the era, who were in shows such as Bat Man, Get Smart and the Munsters.
Rios said he will probably keep the exhibit up for about four weeks and then store it in his daughter’s bedroom like all the others. His grown-up daughter who stays in his Sunnyside home on weekends complains that her room is being taken over by Rios’ displays.
“Two more exhibits and she will be sleeping on the couch,” Rios said.
Rios said he gets a real kick out of his displays. “I talk to 15 to 20 people a day who stop and take a good look,” he said.
“Once in a while people think I’m going out of business with all this stuff in the window,” he chuckles. “But, hey, it’s all good fun.”