Secret Trash Museum. Way cooler than it sounds.
March 17, 2016 3:35 PM   Subscribe

Fascinating Photos from the Secret Trash Museum in a New York Sanitation Garage. (sl Atlas Obscura)
posted by Glinn (29 comments total) 35 users marked this as a favorite
 
And of course, the furby photo reminded me of this hilarious comment story by Nattie. And I wondered about the previous owners of all those discarded furbies.
posted by Glinn at 3:37 PM on March 17, 2016 [4 favorites]


It actually sounds REALLY cool. But you're right, it's cooler than that.
posted by mcstayinskool at 3:53 PM on March 17, 2016 [3 favorites]


Hooray for Nelson Molina and this delightful little museum! Thanks, Glinn.
posted by MonkeyToes at 4:02 PM on March 17, 2016 [1 favorite]


More photos here and here.
posted by MonkeyToes at 4:07 PM on March 17, 2016 [2 favorites]


The fuck is wrong with us? Like a disease, the carelessness of our consumer cycle. Take twenties, throw them in the trash directly and save some carbon.
posted by Ogre Lawless at 4:13 PM on March 17, 2016 [2 favorites]


Nice collection though, like an art project.
posted by Ogre Lawless at 4:15 PM on March 17, 2016 [1 favorite]


Every object in the museum comes with an untold story, not least these three female body building trophies, all thrown away for reasons we will never know.

Because the person who won them died and no one in their family wanted to lug around 30 year old trophies awarded to someone else for the rest of their lives?
posted by the bricabrac man at 4:16 PM on March 17, 2016 [1 favorite]


My family does a little dumpster diving on the side and I feel like we could start our own exhibit from what we've found. Or, a flea market, which incidentally this museum looks very similar to.
posted by Mr.Encyclopedia at 4:40 PM on March 17, 2016


I thought the same thing about the trophies. But they still seem odd and unique and it is still kind of sad. But also nice because now they are in a museum. (Or maybe they are not odd and unique and I am just a very sheltered person.)

Thanks for the extra links, MonkeyToes! I shall sheepishly admit I only did a cursory search for "trash museum" and didn't find anything else to add.
posted by Glinn at 4:41 PM on March 17, 2016


From MonkeyToes' first link:

Sanitation workers are not permitted to take things for their personal use, though officials and workers say it does happen.

Why the hell not? What possible difference could it make? "Oh no no no no, those precious trashes MUST be reverently cached in the Holy Landfill!"
posted by Greg_Ace at 4:43 PM on March 17, 2016 [8 favorites]


Privacy, maybe?
posted by dazed_one at 5:11 PM on March 17, 2016 [2 favorites]


This is very cool; also, you know when you see a random room/building and you wonder what it smells like in there? I wonder what it smells like in there.
posted by heyho at 5:22 PM on March 17, 2016 [1 favorite]


Because the person who won them died and no one in their family wanted to lug around 30 year old trophies awarded to someone else for the rest of their lives?

When we cleared out my mom's place, we threw away so much stuff like this, including so many photos and negatives. But, what can you do? I don't have time to look though thousands of photos, just in case there are a couple worth saving. I have enough of my own crap in my house.
posted by Thorzdad at 5:26 PM on March 17, 2016 [2 favorites]


This is rubbish!
posted by carter at 5:26 PM on March 17, 2016


Privacy, maybe?

Maybe, but if that's the case, it seems like it would be just as prohibited for the collection to be"on display for other workers" (and the public during tours), but they expressly say this doesn't break their rules.
posted by Greg_Ace at 5:37 PM on March 17, 2016 [1 favorite]


This is so great.
posted by turbid dahlia at 6:10 PM on March 17, 2016


How much of your work day do you spend searching through trash for stuff like this? Doesn't it reduce your productivity?
posted by InsertNiftyNameHere at 6:13 PM on March 17, 2016


How much of your work day do you spend searching through trash for stuff like this? Doesn't it reduce your productivity?

Maybe, but New Yorkers often put items that are in good condition out on the curb so that passerby can take them if they wish. A lot of this stuff is in great shape, so it's likely that these are items that were left out and clearly visible rather than bagged or in a bin. I can't imagine that all those pewter vessels or buddha heads would be looking this nice if they'd actually ended up in the compactor truck.

And people throw out some crazy stuff in some parts of town. Once in the West Village we found a working laptop that someone had just put on the curb. We knew they were getting rid of it because one hinge was broken and because it was sitting on top of a pile of packaging their new laptop had come in, and we knew it was working because it was still turned on.
posted by phooky at 6:32 PM on March 17, 2016 [10 favorites]


And if you'd like to see the secret history of how that stuff got to the museum, may I recommend the Trashed graphic novel by Derf Backderf?
posted by JDC8 at 7:04 PM on March 17, 2016 [2 favorites]


Doesn't it reduce your productivity?

Maybe but I close my browser quickly before my boss walks by so nobody can really tell.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 7:08 PM on March 17, 2016 [9 favorites]


I wonder if Mr Molina is aware of eBay?
posted by Flashman at 7:18 PM on March 17, 2016


You can always donate your photos and negatives to an archives. (trust me, I'm an archivist)
posted by mollymillions at 7:42 PM on March 17, 2016 [4 favorites]


Maybe, but New Yorkers often put items that are in good condition out on the curb so that passerby can take them if they wish.

When I lived on the Upper East Side the kinds of things I'd see put out on the street or in the building's trash area were astonishing. Designer shoes, books, stacks of records, furniture, electronics, all in decent, some almost-new, condition.

The best times to go curb shopping are when school semesters end or when summer interns go back home. Then people put out all kinds of amazing things they don't want to lug out of town.
posted by Sangermaine at 8:50 PM on March 17, 2016 [2 favorites]


This is a whole lot better than the collections of many actual museums. The pewter alone, geez.
posted by Miko at 9:05 PM on March 17, 2016 [3 favorites]


One of my guy's never took over 6 days of vacation at a time, because he didn't want anyone else delivering newspapers on trash day in the rich part of town. I'm sure he made more junkin' than we paid him.
posted by ridgerunner at 12:04 AM on March 18, 2016 [1 favorite]


I found a waffle iron in a street trash can in NYC on New Years Eve sometime in the 90s. I lugged it all night from party to party and finally home to Baltimore. It made amazing waffles for another 15 years before finally dying. I've always wondered why someone threw it away on New Years Eve and figured it was something like, "That's it! I'm never eating another waffle! Never! This is the start of my new waffle free existence!" And down to the curb it went.
posted by mygothlaundry at 8:10 AM on March 18, 2016 [2 favorites]


They probably got a newer waffle iron for Christmas, is my guess. The timing is right. I got my Black and Decker waffle iron for $2 at a flea market. It is probably 35 years old, and it makes amazing waffles. It's things like that that make me sad about the obvious planned obsolescence of most of our gadgets today, and how readily we throw out good things, when it's so easy to re-home them if you give a shit. Heck, there are even Facebook groups now in just about every community where you can post things to give away.
posted by Miko at 8:49 AM on March 18, 2016 [1 favorite]


an unwanted trophy refuge/museum should exist
posted by typecloud at 12:09 PM on March 18, 2016 [1 favorite]


an unwanted trophy refuge/museum should exist

Lots of trophy companies (like the local places you would buy a trophy from if you were hosting an event) will accept donations of old trophies to dismantle and use the parts to make less expensive refurb trophies available to nonprofits.
posted by antimony at 1:04 PM on March 18, 2016 [4 favorites]


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