The hoarder who turned an Higher West Facet block into his personal private junkyard was a proficient dressmaker who as soon as admitted that he had “no aspirations for sanity.”
Timothy John, who drew the ire of locals by stashing piles of junk alongside the sidewalk at West 77th Avenue and Columbus Avenue, was identified by artsy associates as a artistic designer with a penchant for turning trash into style.
“He is without doubt one of the most proficient designers I’ve seen in my life,” mentioned New York Metropolis artist Mel Odom. “I don’t know what has introduced him thus far in his life.”
“What is going on is such a disgrace,” Odom mentioned this week. “He’s a genius in so some ways. That is heartbreaking.”
John was born in Washington, DC, and lived in Maryland and Virginia earlier than shifting to the Huge Apple, in accordance with a 2013 interview on the style web site stylelikeu.com.
“I’ve no aspirations for sanity in any respect,” he mentioned in the course of the interview. “Once I go searching and see what’s thought-about regular, I’m not tempted. I don’t suppose regular exists, however lots of people try to evolve to some normal they suppose is regular.”
“The actual fact of the matter is that almost all of my wardrobe is admittedly mainly particles from different individuals’s lives, different individuals’s travels, different individuals’s experiences,” he mentioned.
John didn’t reply to quite a few calls and messages from The Submit and didn’t reply the door at his Higher West Facet condo.
Spencer Throckmorton, proprietor of the Throckmorton High-quality Artwork Gallery on East 57th Avenue — and a former classmate of John’s at Virginia Commonwealth College — mentioned his outdated schoolmate “did a number of issues in style.”
“He went to Cali, Colombia, and he did a present there final 12 months,” he mentioned. “He’s normally reserved. As an artwork collector, he seems to be for bargains at flea markets and objects that could possibly be integrated into style.”
“He reuses and reinvents previous style,” Throckmorton mentioned.
One other pal, San Francisco resident Susan Vanasco-Howell, who developed a long-distance acquaintance with John, mentioned he advised her he had begun to promote issues — however didn’t point out it was junk on the sidewalk.
“He advised me, ‘You received’t imagine what number of treasures I discover on the road as a result of individuals are shifting from New York Metropolis and throwing issues out,’” Vanasco-Howell mentioned.
“I suppose it will need to have gotten uncontrolled,” she added.
Vanasco-Howell mentioned she turned so involved about her pal in January that she referred to as cops to do a wellness verify after not listening to from him in days.
She mentioned the 2 usually spoke day by day.
“I did it from the underside of my coronary heart,” she mentioned. “I used to be involved as a result of I hadn’t heard from him and it’s the lifeless of winter in New York Metropolis throughout a pandemic, and he lives alone.”
John made information this week when The Submit reported that he had piled up junk — every little thing from chairs to clothes — on the sidewalk close to a metropolis center college, prompting neighbohood complaints.
Metropolis sanitation employees lastly moved in and cleared away the particles, whereas cops issued John a summons for storing property on the sidewalk.
Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer mentioned this week that she had written metropolis officers as early as November to complain concerning the junk pile.
“Mr. John has been visited quite a few instances by the Avenue Outreach Group,” Brewer’s workplace mentioned in an e mail. “Mr. John visited the outreach workplace and expressed curiosity in storage.”
Brewer additionally held an interagency assembly in January to take care of the general public muddle.
“The objects and particles develop day by day and appeal to rodents, block the sidewalk, and supply cowl for unacceptable conduct corresponding to public urination,” Brewer wrote in a Feb. 24 letter to numerous metropolis companies, together with human sources and police.
Though the junk has now been cleared, John nonetheless lives amid muddle at residence.
Elias Wester, the tremendous of John’s constructing on West 82nd Avenue, mentioned he has turn out to be more and more disorganized in latest months — and now has an condo stuffed with junk and particles as effectively.
“He wants assist,” Wester mentioned.
Further reporting by Elizabeth Rosner