In New York City, it is commonplace for residents to temporarily decorate the sidewalks with discarded items. It’s like a yard sale, except everything is free. Stooping NYC turned this phenomenon into a community on Instagram that has accumulated over 185,000 followers since its creation. The website is a passion project run by two anonymous users with a knack for lucky furniture finds. No funds are collected from the Instagram page. Its focus is simple: moving usable items off the streets and into people’s homes. Once an item is listed, it’s first-come, first-serve. Similar to a thrift store or used bookstore, this account gives the history of a personal item a chance to redeem itself. It serves as a gem of connection and highlights the memory of sharing to a large city that desperately needs community again.
These are the first words you see at first glance of Stooping NYC on Instagram. And it’s true. In the comment sections of the posts, you can see followers tagging friends and discussing stooped furniture locations. This account has ultimately allowed furniture collecting in New York to become more sustainable. Someone’s antique globe or tattered velvet couch can add to the eclectic design of another’s studio apartment as second-hand-owned discoveries. The app has a plentiful amount of successful furniture “stoops,” and posts other items if found in good condition, such as small appliances, board games, or even decks of old skateboards.
From Trash to Treasure
The anonymous creators of Stooping NYC shared that Williamsburg, Park Slope, Upper East Side, Upper West Side, Ridgewood, and Astoria are the best neighborhoods for stooping finds. The two people running the account often discover items and post them to their Instagram stories or as posts, but followers can also DM the pieces that they find on the street to the account directly.
The founders began this endeavor after discovering the numerous treasures posted along the fronts of apartments during walks with their son. When people asked on an Instagram Q+A whether there was a catch to the account to make a profit, they responded simply explaining that there was no commission.
Stooping NYC is a scavenger hunt for its followers and exploration for its creators.