freegans in the nyt

A few quotes from a very interesting article in this past Sunday’s NYT Mag on a band of Freegans living in Buffalo, NY.

“People throw away houses,” he told me. “It’s ridiculous.”

“The facade of legitimacy was our main goal,” he told me. “We pried the boards off and did it all in broad daylight. That’s what ownership comes down to — everyone believing that you actually own it.”

Odd as it seemed, the freegan kids helped stabilize the neighborhood, and the concerned neighbors wanted them to stay. “They said, ‘Don’t you dare kick those kids out of the house!’ ” Judge Nowak told me.

“You got a washcloth?” someone asked.

“What happened to all the silverware?” someone asked.

“They got turned into a wind chime,” someone replied nonchalantly. Sure enough, moments later, we could all hear the sound of forks clanging in the breeze.

“This is the modern hunter-gatherer society,” Rick told me with a smile.

“They looked like they hadn’t bathed in a little while,” he said. “They would look at the ceiling as they were talking to me. Frankly, they all looked like they were high.”

But, in the end, Tim said, ownership was “a necessary step to keep the project alive.”

“He was really beside himself that he had to sit people down and say, ‘The rule is pets go outside to poop.’ He suddenly saw himself as the father figure, and that just turned his head inside out.”

“Why are you walking around barefoot? Are you crazy? With all the crack vials and needles here?”

Read the full article at The New York Times.


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