My 2 cents-
Either LA or NYC.
If choosing the latter, then, by all means, check out Audioconnection in Verona, NJ.
Manhattan has quite a few dealers, but John Rutan is the worth visiting.
Really? Explain it to me. Because I have the distinct impression what is desirable is to find the best components. No dealer anywhere ever had the best of everything. It just don’t work that way. I think what you are looking for is one that will do the best job of hand holding emotional reinforcement and making you feel you got a good deal while putting 60k into his pocket, 40k into your living room. Because the way you are going that is exactly what will happen.
If that sounds harsh, well rest assured the best dealers are so good at it you really will feel you got a good deal, even as he drives away in the Ferrari you just paid for.
I recommend you swing by Brighten Michigan, Classic Audio Loudspeakers & Atma-Sphere resides close to there.... It's a chunk of change not to consider different options.
The T1.5 Reference is what I recommend you give a listen too.
I had a similar experience and I traveled the country for a year looking for speakers. I visited dealers from NJ to LA and many in between. I live in Arizona. For your budget, I would recommend the West Coast. Sunny's Audio, Alma Hifi, and Scott Walker are three that you can probably hear 12 higher-end sound systems. Once you have the speakers it is easy to find an amp.