Inside NYC’s hidden museum of trash

The museum is located in an East Harlem sanitation garage

“The Treasures in the Trash Museum” in East Harlem
“The Treasures in the Trash Museum” in East Harlem

Tucked away on the second floor of an East Harlem sanitation garage is one of New York City’s most bizarre museums – or most fascinating art galleries, depending on how you look at it.


This carefully curated assortment of odds and ends is called “The Treasures in the Trash Museum,” and was compiled by a sanitation worker named Nelson Molina over the course of 33 years, according to Untapped Cities.

Located on 99th street between First and Second Avenues, “The Treasures in the Trash Museum” began as a collection of carefully selected bits of rubbish arranged in the form of an art gallery.

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Sanitation workers are forbidden from keeping trash found on the job, but nevertheless, the department hierarchy eventually blessed the collection. Since then, the second floor of the garage has been conveniently deemed unsuitable to support the weight of garbage trucks and the collection has been greatly expanded as a result.


The museum features toys, ceramics, chairs, cameras, memorabilia and vacuum cleaners, all arranged according to size, theme and function. [Untapped Cities]Christopher Cameron