Thursday, 10 February 2011

Ridgewood Garbageman Rescues Treasures Of The Past

Ridgewood Garbageman Rescues Treasures Of The Past

From across the Pond comes this story that is at turns fantastic, desirous and yet slightly sad.

Fantastic that this fellow has, in the course of his business, been able to build up an amazing one-of-a-kind collection of vintage treasures and memorabilia that could well define the history of New York City in his garage-museum. He is to be commended for having such a great eye for artefacts and for not taking his job so literally as to simply throw them all away but rather to keep them, discovering and appreciating the history behind each item (not to mention preserving them for future generations). Being that his work means he is often the first person to come across these treasures puts him in a very fortunate position, which I am pleased to see he does not abuse.

It's a position that I'm very sure many of us would give our eye teeth to be in ourselves. I'd gladly put up with the less desirable aspects of refuse collection if it meant I could go through house clearances and keep stuff as he does. And yet in America such occurrences are commonplace. I have already blogged about my aunt in Pennsylvania who practically makes a living from estate sales, as they are called over there. In Great Britain the concept is a rare one, I think in part due to our reserved nature and morbidity when it comes to dealing with possessions of those recently deceased. The attitudes of relatives as expressed in this article would, however, I think be largely mirrored in this country. I can understand such feelings but I still think house clearances are an acceptable, if currently somewhat unmined, recourse if done properly.

The sad thing (to the likes of us vintage enthusiasts) is the cavalier attitude that many people display towards these items, which are very often of value culturally if not monetary if only they took the time to look. In some, but not all, cases it shows a disregard for the past (and an individual's past) that we find so disappointing and difficult to comprehend. One of the reasons I enjoy trawling for objects in charity shops is the thrill of knowing that the things there have a past and have been used - well used - by another. It may sound silly but often by buying these things and using them again I feel that I am in some way helping to perpetuate the memory of former owner(s). It's much more satisfying than a brand new item in a lot of cases, I think you'll agree.

So a hearty well done (and a murmured "lucky beggar") to Mr DiMola and long may he continue to rescue New York's unwanted and unsung treasures


  1. I'm an estate sale addict myself and it wasn't until I started blogging and had comments from international readers that I realized how lucky Yanks should count themselves for having what's essentially a vintage-o-phile's dream to go to every weekend. Always different, almost always a treasure hunt! I wonder what happens to people's stuff on your side of the ocean when they pass away, I guess they just end up in charity shops? All these goods have to get somewhere!

    Also, I now want to be a trashman. But what a trashman! Great.

  2. i've tagged you in a game,please stop by when you have the time!

  3. There are professional house clearance companies in the UK. I think they take anything they know is of value and send it auction or whatever, but often the remainder will end up at car boots or junk shops rather than charity shops.

    There is a big car boot near me that has a few big sellers that are obviously from house clearance. My favourite is "Petes Fill a Bag for £1" you can get some amazing china and knick nacks. Sometimes with chips which is why it hasn't gone anywhere else, but the occasional small chip doesn't bother me!


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