This past weekend was Open House New York Weekend. Every year for one weekend, places of architectural or historical significance around the city open their doors for tours. Some are ticketed, and some are open hours, and since I've moved here I've had a love/hate relationship with the whole event. I love it because I love touring things—I'll pretty much go anywhere, especially if it's free. I hate it, because tickets are notoriously difficult to get—the last two years we were able to get exactly zero tickets, despite being trigger-ready right at the 11am drop time. Despite our disappointment, we still saw some pretty wonderful things, including the TWA Flight Center at JFK and the (now-shuttered) Four Seasons restaurant.
This year there was one ticketed event that I wanted above all else: a tour of the Treasures in the Trash collection. Third time must be a charm, because this year I got my tickets, and on Saturday afternoon we met at a sanitation garage in East Harlem for the tour. The collection, which occupies an entire floor of a building mostly used to house garbage trucks, is made up entirely out of stuff New Yorkers have thrown in the trash. Nelson Molina, a retired sanitation worker, has been working on the collection for more than 30 years, and it's all meticulously organized by themes. They don't hold regular hours or tours unfortunately, so getting tickets was a huge coup.
To say the collection is fascinating is a definite understatement. I consider myself a collector—not a hoarder, although some might disagree—and to see everything organized so neatly and thoughtfully really appealed to my sensibilities. I can't give Molina enough credit for having such vision, and seeing how many true treasures he's collected just makes me wonder how many more wonderful things make it all the way to the dump every single day.