Best public junk collection - 2006
Marty's Cool Stuff
Marty's Cool Stuff is the store Edie Beale would have opened if she'd settled in the city and was into broken guitars, dog lamps, and back issues of National Geographic. The shop is so overrun you can't even go in (the door won't budge beyond a few feet), leaving the fifty-/sixtysomething owner to preside from a chair on the sidewalk. Lately, the shop's been shuttered. The hours were always erratic; he opened whenever he got the notion, it seemed. The view of the interior is cut off partway by what looks like a spread-eagled black hammock (to hide something from potential burglars?). Among the bits of weirdness to be had recently: a terrifying, smiling LBJ coffee mug; an enlarged, poster-board New York Times theater review, likely pulled from the nearby Culture Project's trash pile. The question "Why is it there?" extends to the place itself, as does "How?" Put Cool Stuff in a museum and it'd be a daunting specimen of authentically ragged physical collage. Now more than ever, it's a lesson in desuetude.