Sidewalk treasures once furnished many a pad

More than one proud resident of the Big Apple has started out by scouring the streets for discarded furniture, lamps and rugs in days not long past. Even some well-to-do folks glommed onto items of considerable value, whether artworks or designer products.

Warning: Do not look at this photo while munching on a croissant. (Photo from Time Out New York)

I was reminded of this phenomenon the other day–truthfully, it was more like two weeks ago–while watching from my first-floor window on Manhattan’s Upper West Side just as my building’s super lugged a table, chair and other furniture to the curb for pickup. Before the table hit the cement, a neatly dressed man and his son claimed ownership by draping themselves over the goods as several passersby cast an envious eye on them.

Amused and concerned–about which more in a moment–I saw him on his cell phone, obviously negotiating transportation. In about half an hour’s time, a woman who appeared to be his wife, partner or girlfriend arrived in a pickup truck, and the loading of the three or four items ensued.

I wouldn’t do that, and neither should you.

Bedbugs, right?  They thrive through travel, hitching rides on anything from luggage to, uh, beds.

When I discussed the situation with my doorman, he said the couple planned to refinish the furniture and would be safe from the bloodsuckers.  I hope so.

Serendipitously, I came across a useful piece in Time Out New York, which offered experts’ advice on street furniture as well as suggestions how the buyers of co-ops and condos might learn whether their new apartment is at risk. BrickUnderground also keeps up to date on this itchy issue. And New York magazine’s latest issue has a terrific long “takeout” on bedbugs.

Of course, you never can be sure. But I know from experience, after vacationing in Paris a few years ago, that three bites in a line is indisputable evidence that you have a problem. What wasn’t immediately clear to me then was whether the bedbugs had decided to vacation in New York.

I decided to wait and see before throwing things away, doing endless loads of laundry and spending a fortune on extermination, never mind buying new almost everything.

Luckily, it turned out that all the biting occurred in France, of which I say “Viva la. . .” Of course, I exempt the maddening critters.

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Malcolm Carter
Licensed Associate Real Estate Broker
Senior Vice President
Charles Rutenberg Realty
127 E. 56th Street
New York, NY 10022

M: 347-886-0248
F: 347-438-3201
Web site

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