Rosalie Genevro on the Flattened Waste Basket that Holds Pride of Place in Her Apartment

For the architectural historian, urbanist, and executive director of The Architectural League of New York, a sculptural beach find is a constant reminder of how interesting the world can be.

Pride of place in our apartment is held by a wire trash can. It happens to be both my husband’s and my favorite possession. Years ago, long before we were married, he was walking on Jones Beach on Long Island not long after a beach cleaning machine had roared through. On the ground in its wake was the trash bin, with every part in place, but completely flattened and almost perfectly symmetrical. Now it hangs in our foyer, serving as an always-at-hand essay on forced perspective. It gets dressed up and woven with glittery red and green pom-poms for Christmas, and in a pinch, it can serve as a hanging place for incoming dry cleaning while you are putting away your coat. It’s too pompous to call it found art—maybe better just to say it’s a constant reminder of how interesting the day-to-day can be, whenever you get to step away from it.

A photographed of a Flattened wire trash can
a black and white portrait of Rosalie Genevro
Architectural historian and urbanist Rosalie Genevro has served as the executive director of The Architectural League of New York since 1985. For the past 37 years, Genevro has led initiatives including the development of the League’s Urban Omnibus publication and Emerging Voices competition, among numerous exhibitions, design studies, and events. This past September, Genevro announced she will be retiring from her position at the League in June 2023.

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