Mystery! The Phantom Clothes Leaver.

On a very busy street in Brooklyn, adjacent to a Catholic church and a purveyor of fish, I began to find discrete items of women’s luxury clothing abandoned, left to the elements of urine and brine.

Sometimes in piles atop garbage bins, sometimes strung up on the fence that surrounds the church, at times cast atop fire hydrants—the trail felt maniacally deliberate or slapdash. As a hand-to-mouth youngin’ starting out in New York, the discards would taunt me with their extravagance, and I would pass by their display two or three times before finally discouraging myself from taking it.

After six or eight instances of finding this quality apparel, I began to keep track of the articles: 3/14/2007, a translucent Louis Vuitton knapsack. 5/2/2007, solidly-made Merino wool trousers. 7/26/2007, oversized cowl-neck sweater. 8/16/2007, jersey skirt, sparkly purple top, constructed white button-down.

The bizarre behavior of the Phantom Clothes Leaver. What causes someone to violently pluck items from their closet? It’s so much easier to leave them there, unworn! I’d like to think it’s a motive more sinister than “donation,” so I began to cobble together ideas for who this person might be.

1.) Fashionista with the attention span of a subway turnstile. A cross between Anna Wintour and a werewolf. Bad or outdated clothing is a virus on her closet that drives her mad.
2.) Female superhero who must strip down to her skivvies before fighting realtor’s fees.
3.) Predatory assailant who is indiscriminant about what they will steal from victims, but becomes more discerning on the way to the train.
4.) Fervent bulimic who hates the label “Size M” on her clothes, so she purges them like microwave tacos and instant brownies.

Pictures of the remnants to come.

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