Sunday, February 1, 2009

The City Visible - Mr. Clean

OF all the collectors ferreting around flea markets and antique shops, Paul Swedlow may be among the most dedicated.

For more than 40 years, Mr. Swedlow, a resident of Greenwich Village, has searched the back racks for vintage cleaning gear to add to his collection. He was at it again one recent morning, picking up a rattan rug beater ($10) from Angel Street, a Chelsea thrift shop.

“I’m grabbing it before it ends up in the garbage,” said Mr. Swedlow, a gentlemanly 77-year-old of the old-school persuasion.

He began in 1966 with a rug beater ($1) and a Bissell carpet sweeper ($1.50) found at a Long Island flea market, and he has consulted the yard sale classifieds practically every Saturday since. “It’s like opening a new book,” he said. “You never know what’s going to be in there.”

The City Visible - Mr. Clean - By MICHAEL CANNELL
The New York Times, January 30, 2009
DIRTY TRIVIA: “[Virginia] Woolf frequently pondered the “servant question,” but her concern for those she employed was tinged with distaste. “I am sick of the timid spiteful servant mind,” she wrote of Nellie Boxall, her cook for eighteen years. Though Woolf professed a desire for a time when masters and servants might be “fellow beings,” and argued in her work for space and autonomy for women, her life was one of dependence; she did not learn to cook until she was forty-seven.” - from a review of “Mrs. Woolf and the Servants,” by Alison Light (Bloomsbury) in The New Yorker, September 15, 2008