Every piece of Hickory Dickory Dock’s decorations, toys and watches tells a story. Once you pass the entrance to the canopy of the Nyack 43 South Broadway and drive over the length of the wind chime, you enter a hand-made collection of forests. Some items cite fairy tales, others cite folklore, and some items are directly related to customs, which shape how American Christians celebrate Christmas.
In 1987, lawyer and civic leader John Costa learned that the Nyacks could no longer manage their little bell shop. Costa has always been interested in watchmaking, and his parents owned a small retail store in Bergen County when he was a child.
Due to his legal practice requirements, Costa had to convince his wife, painter and graphic artist to support this cooperation. Norma Costa’s natural affinity for aesthetics and craftsmanship has evolved into a talent for watchmaking and repair mechanisms. Their daughter Loreen manages day-to-day operations and has traveled to Germany every year for the past 30 years to build relationships with craftsmen who make Hickory Dickory Dock watches and collectibles.
The company is in the third position. They started in half space and now it is Runcible Spoon. Their next venue is located on the corner of Franklin and Main Street, and later became the Murasaki restaurant. In 1999, they moved into their current location, which was once the funeral home of the White House.
“This is a perfect place for us,” Loren said. “A rectangular store creates a conveyor belt where people can move up quickly while the other side moves down, but the corners and crevices of this ancient building make people linger.”
Hickory Dickory Dock’s floors, shelves, walls and showcases can hold hundreds of toys, seasonal decorations, nutcrackers, beer mugs and jewellery, but the clock dominates. There are clocks on the walls, floors, tables and cellars. The constant movement of the dial and pendulum and the clock music that marks the time is the soundtrack of the store. “We try to avoid the noise of making them sound at the same time, but we make sure that at least one clock is always talking to you when you are in the store,” Loreen said.
Hickory Dickory Dock represents the world’s finest watchmakers, including Chelsea in Boston, Comitti in London, Hermle in Germany, and Howard Miller in Zeeland, Michigan.
At the heart of the clock series is the cuckoo. The back wall of the main room of the store is covered, salon style with dozens of cuckoo clocks. Hand-carved and moving statues and unique sounds, the exquisite timepiece is the pride of the German Black Forest. Craftsmen in the area have been acclaimed for inventing watches.
During a family trip in 1991, they visited family-run factories that produced the watches they sold, and Costas decided to expand the business to include holiday decorations. “Many of our Christmas traditions, from Christmas trees to countdowns, come from Germany,” Costa said. “Our Santa Claus looks and behaves like their St. Nicholas. They are filled with the shoes that children have left with candy in the legend of Germany. One of the main differences between our Christmas customs is the character of Krampus. Our Christmas The old man refused to give gifts to those on the naughty list. In German folklore, krampus would help bad boys send a piece of coal and some thin switches,” she said.
The Hickory Dickory Pier now has a variety of seasonal holiday decorations and works with craftspeople from around the world. What all projects have in common is that they share the stories of the families and regions of the craftsmen who created them.
Although Costas spent years building relationships with artists and craftspeople, Loreen knew that the real story began when someone entered her store. “When one of our customers chooses an item as part of their family holiday tradition, or to commemorate a special event like birth, that object becomes part of their family story,” Costa admits proudly.
Hickory Dickory Dock will be open to Christmas seven days a week.