Cultural Sites

Treasures in the Trash Museum

In East Harlem at DSNY Sanitation Garage 11 located at 343 East 99th Street, is a trash collection that would rival Ariel’s treasure trove in The Little Mermaid. Sanitation engineer, Nelson Molina has been curating trash for over thirty years for the “Treasures in the Trash Museum,” as he calls the collection, housed in the sanitation garage. The collection, which features over 50,000 “found items,” were all gathered by Molina on the job during his time with the Sanitation Department.

Molina says that more than 90 percent of the objects were collected from his DSNY route in Manhattan’s 11th District, between 96th Street and 110 Street and between 1st and 5th Avenues. The items in the museum are laid out and organized into themes, including a table of typewriters, a section with baseball paraphernalia and a variety of chairs. One of several installations created by Molina throughout the gallery is a wall of posters and maps of Central Park featuring quotes from the East Village artist De La Vega. The recurring quote featured in this installation says “Become Your Dream,” one of the many sayings that La Vega would write on garbage around the city as part of his art. Another notable treasure the museum also features is a Star of David commemorating a man who lost his life on 9/11 which was forged from the metal of the World Trade Center. See more photos inside the gallery here.

Barbizon Hotel for Women

Located at 140 East 63rd Street, The Barbizon hotel’s story begins in 1926 when it was built as a “Club Residence for Professional Women.” It wasn’t until the 1940s that its reputation blossomed as the hotel for young single and gorgeous women. There were other hotels in New York City specifically for women, but the Barbizon stood apart, namely due to its exclusivity. A woman had to have three letters of recommendation along with impeccable manners and dress in order to be allowed a room at this dormitory style hotel.

Between 1940-1960, Joan Crawford, Grace Kelly, Liza Minnelli, Cybill Shepherd, Candice Bergen, Joan Didion, and Betsey Johnson made the Barbizon their home. Eileen Ford, who ran the Ford Modeling Agency, regularly rented rooms at the Barbizon for many of her models. In the April 2010 issue of Vanity Fair, the author Michael Callahan describes it well, “If the Barbizon had a face, it was that of Grace Kelly…The Barbizon wanted its poster girl to be Lisa Fremont, Jimmy Stewart’s sophisticated girlfriend in Rear Window, who had all of Kitty Foyle’s snap and guile, but was also swathed in filmy negligées, A-line dresses, opera gloves, and smart pillbox hats with netting.”