How many "Collyer Mansion" situations do you think we have going on in the five boroughs? Today the NY Times profiles one 54-year-old Bronx man, who has been hoarding forever. The paper visited his packed pad, where he requested to remain anonymous "for fear of public shame." His 500-square-foot apartment in Bedford Park did get visually documented, however, as it's in the process of being organized by a local service specializing in hoarding cases. Hurrah! Now, let's take a look back at the famous Collyer brothers—who often get mentioned in news stories like this.
Brothers Homer and Langley Collyer were not only hoarders, but hermits living together in Harlem (at 2078 Fifth Avenue). The two were found dead in 1947, surrounded by everything from stacks of newspapers to a horse-drawn carriage! According to the NY Sun, they amassed over 130 tons of waste by the time of their deaths—which was well-documented by photographers at the time. One reporter said the smell was like "a punch to the face by a chain-mail fist."
Their bodies were discovered on March 21st and April 8th of 1947; Langley—whose decomposed body was found being eaten by rats—was allegedly trying to crawl "through their newspaper tunnel to bring food to his paralyzed brother when one of his own booby traps fell down and crushed him." Homer died shortly thereafter from "malnutrition, dehydration, and cardiac arrest." They are both buried at Cypress Hills Cemetery in Brooklyn.