The short and the short of it: The wonder and renewal of Treasures in the Trash

(image via New York Nico Instagram account)

For 34 years, New York Sanitation worker, Nelson Molina collected items in the trash on his route in East Harlem. Over 45,000 items, all catalogued and organized on the second floor of the M11 garage. Nelson retired from the job in 2015, but comes to the garage routinely to check in on his ‘museum’. (synopsis via Laughing Squid)

There is something deeply inspiring about watching someone talk about something they are passionate about.

Seeing their eyes light up, their voice soar with the thrill of it all and hearing them explain why this thing, whatever it is, matters so damn much, is a heady antidote to the usual darkness of the world and the blandness of life, and is especially necessary right now in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.

And it honestly doesn’t matter the (legal we must stress) source of the passion is; take the example of New York Sanitation worker Nelson Molina who spent 34 years amassing rescued items he found in the trash into a collection of 45,000 items.

It may seem like a fool’s errand but it is anything but with Molina, who is a delight to watch, talk animatedly about various objects and the stories behind them.

You will be shocked at what people throw away, less because their broken or useless and simply because they have tired of them, a regular occurrence in a consumer culture where there’s always something new to catch their eye.

Molina has rescued so many incredible things that the goal now is to find somewhere to put them all, beyond the carefully-curated museum that currently houses them.

Funds are currently being raised for a DSNY Museum which would be “dedicated to DSNY’s rich history, present operations, and vibrant future” and would include a home for the Treasures in the Trash collection.

“A core goal of the Foundation for New York’s Strongest is to establish an educational museum dedicated to DSNY’s rich history, present operations, and vibrant future. We have begun with a ‘museum without walls’ approach to engage with the public, conduct market research, and explore potential locations.” (Laughing Squad)

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