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New York, New York

The Treasures in the Trash Collection

A New York garbage depot holds a secret collection of weird and wonderful refuse. 

Secreted away on the second floor of the MANEAST11 garbage truck garage is an ever-growing collection of strange items that have been plucked from the trash, and while it is not open to the public it is populated by their stuff.

The collection was started by a single sanitation engineer by the name of Nelson Molina who started plucking treasures from his route over 20 years ago with the simple intention of giving his corner of the garage a little flare. However his hoarding quickly caught on as some of his fellow coworkers began adding weird little pieces to his collection. Everything from exotic lamps to fake flowers to pieces of pop kitsch are carefully extracted from the deluge of upper Manhattan waste, but everything that is admitted into the collection is approved by Molina. The collection is not organized in any formal way but Molina tends to group the pieces by size, general theme, and color.

“Stealing” things from the trash for personal use is a big no-no in the world of sanitation, but since the whimsical collection is for the private viewing of the workers, Molina’s lovely hoard has been allowed to remain. Anyone wanting to take a look at this treasure trove of lovely cast-offs can get in touch with the city to request access, but sanitation workers are allowed any time.

Know Before You Go

Email tours@dsny.nyc.gov to see when tours are happening.