We've all come across perfectly good furniture sitting out on the street, waiting for anyone with the desire, strength and room in their home to snatch it up.
Many of us have also taken great pleasure in hauling an old desk, dresser or set of chairs out to the street, washing our hands of them, knowing that our trash will be someone's treasure.
But be wary of such seemingly ordinary, harmless practices. They could cost you.
A Brooklyn man thought he was doing his neighbors a favor by putting out a dresser for the taking - and was repaid with a $100 fine.
Christian Meany, 36, fell victim to Sanitation agents who apparently have little appetite for the scavenging and "freecycling" that furnishes many apartments.
"I feel like the system of putting furniture on the street for others is a deep-rooted part of Park Slope culture," Meany said on Park Slope Parents. "If I had a heap of smelly trash that was out there for days, I might be more sympathetic to the city. However, this is cutting into a system that recycles goods and helps those who have less."
Residents can legally put out up to six "bulk items" on the curb the evening before regular trash collection.
"The reasoning behind this rule is if bulk items are put out for a day that is not their normal pickup, it could become a sidewalk obstruction when not picked up," said Sanitation Department spokesperson, Matthew Lipani.
But it can also be expensive to pickup discarded items from the street. Just ask the man who was fined $2,000 last summer for grabbing a thrown away air conditioner and putting it in his car. At the time, the Sanitation Department said the man was ticketed because he used his car.
Gothamist reached out to the department for further clarification and discovered that, not only is it illegal to put out furniture on a non-trash day, people who pickup bulk items can be fined $100, and $2,000 if they use a car.
For a helpful guide to legally disposing of your furniture in New York, go here.
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