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The TB Story ; the most interesting man on Long Island

In my years of venturing into the realm of thrifting, attending estate sales, and exploring abandoned properties, I have come to know a sensation that pervades the experience. It is...

In my years of venturing into the realm of thrifting, attending estate sales, and exploring abandoned properties, I have come to know a sensation that pervades the experience. It is a peculiar feeling that takes hold of you, particularly in the midst of estate sales, leaving you slightly disconcerted. One cannot help but wonder why none of the deceased's family members or those who have moved away sought to claim the old family photographs or cherished mementos. Yet, such ruminations merely skim the surface, fleeting thoughts that do not exert a profound impact on one's psyche. However, a recent encounter, a meticulously orchestrated visit to TB's residence, has left an indelible impression on me. Weeks were spent meticulously sifting through the remnants of this man's life, traversing the depths and resurfacing, time and again. And it was during this arduous process that the weight of it all struck me with a profound force.

A young TB in Queens, NY


TB around 20 years old
TB with his parents and older sister


The collections, vast and varied, comprised a tapestry of thoughts, images, and achievements. However, their ultimate fate lay in being discarded into a dumpster, destined for the desolate confines of a landfill. This man, who had traversed the globe astride his motorcycle, embarked on cross-country journeys atop his bicycle, and engaged in the construction of docks and windsurf boards as a thriving entrepreneur, had left behind a legacy of daring exploits. He had assembled, and subsequently crashed, numerous ultralight aircraft, each incident captured and immortalized through a series of photographs. He possessed the skill to fashion his own sails and craft bicycle pannier bags, and his reputation as an archery luminary had seen him compete in competitions throughout the United States as early as the 1950s. Pages upon pages of meticulously kept logs chronicled every twist and turn of his bicycle rides, documenting each calorie consumed. Marble notebooks spanning decades chronicled the conditions of the road and his bicycles, while other volumes detailed his pursuits in long-range rifle and archery shooting. Inked within these pages were intricate designs for bicycle bottom brackets, strategies for enhancing the fuel efficiency of Toyota engines, and concepts for optimizing sail designs. Thousands of sheets bore witness to his ruminations on matters as diverse as the enigmatic Trump, the comedic genius of Dave Chappelle, the harmonies of Fleetwood Mac, and the musical prowess of Bruce Springsteen. Nuclear propulsion, too, occupied his thoughts, as evidenced by the notebooks brimming with ideas on this subject.

TB's "book" collection haaa


Holden and one of TB's carhartt vests


Many of his shirts cleaned up quite nice with a few cycles of bleach


Inside this Landing Gear Story were a collage of images related to his planes (and crashes)


Pictures from inside his Landing Gear Story


More pics from his Landing Gear Story

Nestled within an old drawer or shoebox were passports belonging to family members dating back to the early 1900s, while photographs from the 1800s evoked a sense of nostalgia. Particularly cherished among these images were those capturing him in moments of triumph, his smile radiating against the backdrop of a recently crashed plane. In one such picture, a bumper sticker adorning the nose of the aircraft humorously declared, "shit happens." Another discovery that struck a chord within me was an aged photograph depicting the construction of the Smith Point Bridge, an ironic symbol now slated for demolition and subsequent reconstruction due to the ravages of time. The man himself had cast his own belt buckles, fashioned leather belts by hand, and diligently tended to his Koi fish. It is difficult to articulate precisely why this particular image evoked a deeper sense of sorrow within me. Perhaps it is because I discern a semblance of myself within him, or perhaps it serves as a poignant reminder of life's transience.

He forged some very cool belt buckles like this one seen here


TB glassing a windsurfboard


TB loved target practice with both guns and bows

Nevertheless, I find solace in preserving and sharing these artifacts with those who possess an appreciation for such relics. For otherwise, these images would have been consigned to oblivion, buried beneath layers of discarded garments, forever lost, never to be beheld by another soul.

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