Other people’s trash has become this Ridgewood man’s treasure.
Nick DiMola has been using his residential and commercial interior demolition and rubbish removal company, DiMola Bros. Inc., to collect old and interesting items from people’s trash for over 30 years, and has amassed quite a collection in his Ridgewood-based office.
DiMola, who was born and raised in Ridgewood, started his business right after high school. He began by laying concrete, but quickly transitioned into cleaning up residential and commercial debris. He decided to keep his family name on the business because his grandparents owned a shop on Myrtle Avenue in the 1940s, so it was a way to keep the name in the neighborhood.
“I love Ridgewood. I wouldn’t move from this neighborhood for nothing,” DiMola said. “Unless I’m forced out, if the zoning changes force my business out of here. Then I don’t have a choice, but I’m in here for the long haul. They consider this part of Ridgewood to be the industrial zone.”
Since he was a kid, DiMola has had in interest in collecting things. He would always be collecting plastic toy soldiers, pens, pencils, marbles and anything he could get his hands on. So when he started throwing away people’s trash he was keeping an eye out for old and interesting things.
“Over the course of time, you go to sites and you have to throw garbage away and you just pick things out of the garbage because you like something and you end up accumulating a collection,” DiMola said. “Then the collection takes over and it becomes a part of you.”
DiMola’s office on Summerfield Street is filled with all kinds of artifacts, trinkets, toys, electronics and even some items from when Ridgewood was younger. Some of the more interesting things he has includes old pocket watches, a vintage Coca Cola vending machine, an old gynecologist’s chair, old cellphones and much, much more.
One of the oldest items DiMola has is a Swedish coin from 1764. While the coin may be the oldest item, DiMola has an attachment to the many cast iron car toys he has collected over the years.
As the times change, however, DiMola is finding it increasingly difficult to find older items in the trash.
“The garbage is getting less and less interesting with finding old stuff,” he said. “That’s what makes it more of a trash-treasure when you find something because you see less and less of it.”
The main reason DiMola likes to collect these “trash treasures” is because they truly are a window into the way people lived their lives.
“You can go to the museum and see millions of dollars’ worth of old artifacts and artwork. It’s not the same as checking out stuff you find in the everyday lives of people. It has so much more character to it because you can explain to kids that your grandparents, and their grandparents, this is what they did, this is what they used and this is how they lived.”
DiMola says he is not interested in selling off any of his collection, but hopes that his collection is passed on to his son and other collectors to keep the items’ stories alive.