In Chicago, whenever you have an extra stool, bookcase, or bed frame that you just don’t want to deal with, you simply put it in the alley. It’s amazing—you don’t have to drive it to a thrift store or post it on Craigslist. You dump it out back and without fail, the item will be picked up. Men with patched-together pick up trucks roam the alleys picking up refrigerators and scrap metal, or someone going for a stroll will fancy that coat rack you just set out and give it a new home. What a wonderful system.
However, there are no alleys in New York City. I don’t know what people do in Manhattan (we never had enough possessions to give anything away, haha). Brooklyn, though, has enough space and tourist-free sidewalks that people can set out their undesired goods. It’s like a stoop sale, but everything is free.
Some people attempt to set up an attractive display, while others toss things so haphazardly that it’s unclear if those gym shoes are for the taking or just waiting for their owner’s next walk.
Either way, it’s always fun to see what people leave out, and how quickly they get picked up. This system certainly adds to the community feel of Park Slope.
OK, I lied. There are indeed a few rare alleys in New York City. On a walk through Brooklyn Heights, we discovered these two: