Written by Betsy Abraham, email@example.com Friday, 04 October 2013 00:00
John Reid, owner of Tricky Business, is holding five folded dollar bills in his hand.
“Watch the bills closely,” he says.
He suddenly flips the bills over, and they’re all hundreds. He counts them, folds them, flips them over again and they’re singles again.
“Don’t worry, you’re not going crazy,” he says with a smile.
For the past 30 years, Reid been doing magic tricks, captivating crowds of all ages with card tricks, disappearing acts, illusions and more. His East Meadow store, Tricky Business, is a magic emporium, where magic lovers can come buy tricks as well as learn new skills.
Though nowadays, he performs around the world, Reid’s beginning years in magic were spent doing tricks in his room by himself. Reid was seven years old when he got a Fischer Price magic set from his grandmother for Christmas. He loved doing magic tricks, but as an introvert, was self-conscious about performing.
“I would do tricks, but never show anyone what I was doing,” he said.
Through his teen years, he continued to foster his love of magic, but never did tricks for an audience. After graduating from Holy Trinity High School, he went to the New York Institute of Technology to study architecture, and one day was in the cafeteria doing a card trick for a friend, who asked Reid to perform at his nephew’s birthday party. At the party, someone else asked Reid if he would do another event. Suddenly, Reid found himself making his hobby a side job and realized he could make it a living.
Making a full time career out of doing magic tricks seemed impossible but Reid said he didn’t allow himself another option.
“Everyone says you should have a backup plan, but if you don’t believe in yourself, why should anyone else?” Reid said.
He opened his first shop in East Northport in 2003, before moving to a location in Hicksville, and then to East Meadow, which is where he’s been for the past three years. His store, located at 2590 Hempstead Turnpike, looks unassuming from the outside, but inside, is a magician’s paradise. Perfect for magicians of all skill levels, Tricky Business sells kits, tricks, props, and of course, plenty of playing card decks. The space also has a classroom in the back, where the shop regularly hosts magic classes and lectures.
Reid says that most magicians are introverts and that he enjoys helping kids get out of their homes and into a more social environment where he can teach them new skills and tricks.
“The store is a place where I can get younger kids who are interested in magic into a real social environment and help them through their tricks and posture,” Reid said. “It’s a way for me to give back. The more I help a kid, the more it helps me in the end.
For many, the appeal of magic is the power it can have, letting people into an exclusive club of knowing the secrets behind a trick. For Reid, it was the psychology of the art that fascinated him.
“I thought it was interesting how a magician could make a person think one thing, while the reality was something else,” Reid says.
Reid is also a skilled “balloon twister.” But Reid’s creations aren’t just your regular dogs, swords and crowns. His life size balloon creations include recreations of the DeLorean from Back to the Future, a 22 foot ship for Disney Cruises, and dresses. Him and the other six balloon twisters at Tricky Business, can also be seen making balloon creations in restaurants in Hicksville, Carle Place and East Meadow.
Reid has traveled all over the world, entertaining international audiences with his magic. He’s performed at the White House’s July Fourth celebrations the past five years, has been on Martha Stewart’s show and done birthday parties for the children of celebrities. But at the end of the day, the thing he loves most about magic is how happy it makes people.
“I get to make people smile for a living. I wake up in the morning and my goal is to make the world a happier place,” Reid said. “When I do a trick or make a balloon animal for a kid and see that look in their eyes, it’s the greatest feeling in the world.”
For more information, or to book Tricky Business to perform at your next event, visit www.trickybiz.com.