Find your new favorite piece with the help of Stooping NYC

Almost every NYU student has heard of stooping to get free furniture. Here’s the story of how the popular Instagram account @StoopingNYC came to be.

A+Victorian+couch+sits+on+top+of+a+pile+of+trash+in+the+49th+Street+subway+station.

Stooping NYC’s Instagram account gained in popularity since its start in 2019. (Illustration by Susan Behrends Valenzuela; Samson Tu for WSN)

Mitali Sapra, Contributing Writer

Stooping NYC’s Instagram page is a staple for every New Yorker, especially college students. The account, run by an anonymous married couple, has been using the platform to help New Yorkers “stoop” and find free furniture.

“We were pretty decisive from the very beginning that we didn’t want for clout or fame or anything from it, but we wanted to use the platform to highlight the community,” the woman said. Their main goal for the account is to promote sustainability by posting their own finds, as well as the finds New Yorkers send to them through their DMs.

They began the page in August of 2019 in large part due to their son, who loved going on walks. During their regular walks around Brooklyn, they discovered the many treasures the city had to offer right on the streets. Knowing that many of the pieces they saw might end up going to waste, the couple created an Instagram account to share the finds, which were typically in good condition. 

“I was always joking about all the amazing things that were left all over the streets in Brooklyn, and saying I was going to start an Instagram page for them,” the man said. “One day I just did it, and stooping was born.”

Within nearly three and a half years, the account has grown to become a community of 413,000 people and has been featured in publications like Vogue. The couple hasn’t just been struck by the rapid growth of their account, but also by the stories they and their followers have been able to witness through stooping. Beyond the fact that the account provides a service to New Yorkers, the surprising stories of often unassuming pieces have drawn people into the allure of stooping and the rich histories it can reveal. 

“We’ve had these different stories take off, whether it was the ear mirror or somebody who left his art on the side of a park because he had to move back to Puerto Rico,” the man said. 

The ear mirror garnered coverage from notable newspapers, as well as an outpour of community responses as New Yorkers scrambled to unearth the mystery of its appearance.  

“There’s this ’80s piece of furniture, and it’s essentially like a dresser with a mirror on top of it, but the mirror is in the shape of an ear,” the woman said. “It has magically been turning up all over the city for probably the last year and a half now. Everyone has different opinions of whether or not it’s haunted and whether it’s many of the same piece or the same one circulating.”

It’s not just interesting pieces like the ear mirror that prompt widespread community responses. The woman shared that their first viral post was about a girl who had just broken up with her boyfriend and left his belongings on the street. 

“She said, ‘My ex’s trash could be your treasure,’” the woman said. “The items weren’t really remarkable, but it was wonderful because the community rallied around this girl they didn’t know with messages of encouragement and love.” 

The other stories she shared carried the same element of human connection, which the couple has come to appreciate about stooping. 

“All of the stories that go viral that we both really like are ones that are connected to some sort of human truth, something we can all sort of identify with,” the woman said. 

Stooping NYC’s reach extends across New York, and it comes as no surprise that many NYU students have taken up stooping to save money and introduce upcycling to their lifestyles.

“Stooping has definitely saved me a lot of money, and I am constantly looking for secondhand things because I am going to move out next year after graduation,” said River Zhang, a CAS senior. 

If you’re new to stooping, CAS junior Sehyr Patel offered some tips: keep your stooping notifications on, and if a piece is too heavy to carry by yourself, consider getting the help of a delivery service. Patel also shared some of her best stooping finds. 

“My roommate and I have stooped a bunch of stuff for our house, and the biggest thing we found was a new TV outside StuyTown which we got for free,” Patel said.

Stooping has taken over New York with the word “stoop” becoming a brand in itself. The Brooklyn couple chose to not expand their “brand” to other cities, as their initial goal was never to do it for profit.

Contact Mitali Sapra at [email protected]