New York City ‘Stooping’ Sparks Cottage Industry


Bronwyn Tarboton says she has memorized her Manhattan neighborhood’s garbage pickup schedule and can spot treasure in a pile of trash from 500 feet away.

The savvy scavenger recently lugged a mirror with worn wood paneling back to her apartment after finding it on a sidewalk. She polished, painted and covered the mirror with vintage wallpaper that she found in a recycling bag on a street.

A week and a half later, she sold it for $185 through her Instagram account, @nyctrashtotreasures. The account sells what Ms. Tarboton calls “highly curated trash,” which she says has grown in abundance in New York City over the past year.

The Covid-19 pandemic has given rise to a trend known as “stooping,” in which city dwellers eager to revamp their spaces for little cost scour streets for furniture that some New Yorkers threw away as they fled the city or switched apartments. Instagram accounts popped up helping to flag the locations of newly discarded furniture.