New York University's independent student newspaper, established in 1973.

Washington Square News

New York University's independent student newspaper, established in 1973.

Washington Square News

New York University's independent student newspaper, established in 1973.

Washington Square News

Off-Third: The city streets are New York’s hottest department store

One man’s trash is another man’s bean bag.


Susan Behrends Valenzuela

Stooping is the remedy to overpriced apartments and furniture. (Illustration by Susan Behrends Valenzuela; Samson Tu for WSN)

Matan Hamam, Staff Writer

Off-Third is WSN’s satire column.

A new school year has started, and with it, thousands of leases for new apartments and dorm rooms. As the game of musical chairs comes to a close, New York’s hottest and most in-demand resale store opens its doors once again: a department store that stretches 200 blocks and features pieces ranging from rusty vintage silverware to zebra print bean bags. The New York City streets should be your go-to for making your place shine with that special something and its weird stain.

Any interior design magazine will bombard you with sleek marble lamps, color-coordinated bedside tables, spotless dressers and unstained drawers. Is that what you really want? 

Matching furniture is overrated. Color coordination is trite, as are tables with all four legs fully intact. Leave them in 2021. If you want to embrace this fall’s style trends, you’d better be ready to lug them down Third Avenue and hoist them up the stairs of your fifth-floor walk up. If you are a proud key holder to an unfurnished apartment, this is how to fill your empty place with items that will make your friends and family say: “You washed this, right?”

You might be thinking, “If someone threw it out, there’s probably a reason.” Don’t be so paranoid. The reason for tossing is a lack of taste. Nobody in their right mind would want to toss a stemless wine glass with a hot pink Santa Claus sticker on it. And you can’t buy incredible artifacts like that in stores. Bed Bath & Beyond is for losers. You go to NYU — you’re a cool kid now.

Let’s say you hit the jackpot. How do you bring it home? Well, because you’re so cool, you have friends with you everywhere you go. Having another person along with you is a great way to make sure you don’t miss out on any two-person operations.

I, for example, use Max. He thinks we’re friends. This is ideal.

August and September are a 2-month long Christmas celebration, and all of New York City is the Christmas tree. All you have to do is look around. I have a window that looks out onto the street corner, and nothing gives me more joy than opening my blinds to see a dresser or coffee table waiting, shining and calling my name. Embrace the world of street furnishing. Every morning will be like Christmas, and every long walk home is a chance to shop.

Sometimes, however, there is a reason something is on the street besides lack of taste, and that reason is not wanting to get a disease from a feral street rat. So let me leave you with one last tip: if it’s moving, don’t pick it up.

This will ensure you’re not inviting new roommates home. Remember, this is New York. If they can’t contribute to the rent, kick them out. If it looks really comfy, though, it’s a personal judgment call. I recently gave a new home to a lovely bean bag I rescued off the street, only to find out it had also given a new home to a few friendly cockroaches. But that’s the joy of the market. You can just put it right back out into the world for someone else to love, cockroaches and all. You don’t even need to worry about losing your receipt!

Go out and enjoy all the city streets have to offer. Just, maybe, give it a wash first.

Off-Third is WSN’s satire column. WSN’s Opinion section strives to publish ideas worth discussing. The views presented in the Opinion section are solely the views of the writer.

Contact Matan Hamam at [email protected].

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  • C

    ChenSep 13, 2022 at 1:29 pm

    Love this fresh look at the treasures the city has to offer…