Neatly placed junk might sound like an oxymoron but many people think a junk man can't be an environmentalist either. James "Jimmy" Ruocco is breaking both of those stereotypes and having fun doing it.
The neighborhood junk yard on Buffalo Ave in Freeport has been around since before the 1930's but was acquired by its current owner, Jimmy Ruocco in 1984. Since then he has reinvented what it means to be a junk yard.
His yard has developed a reputation for its unusual antiques and random, repurposed inventions. Visitors have contributed to the collection over the years knowing that Jimmy would give their object a good home. The huge great white mounted on the outside of the building is one of those items. It came from a business in Valley Stream that was no longer allowed to display it on its roof.
While it is a working junkyard, not every item is for sale; some are for smiles. Jimmy said seeing a smile on someones face when they come in is what this is all about. Visitors who have frequented the shop in the past say they discover something new every time they stop by.
For the most part, the business sells car parts, junked cars, trucks, buses, scrap iron, copper bearing scrap and electric motors.
After Sandy hit in 2012 the yard and offices were completely flooded. Lots of inventory was lost and the business is still recovering. To prevent more damage in the future, Jimmy and his crew are moving most of the items up off the floor above the Sandy floodline. They are also still working to remodel the front office.
When Jimmy's not at the yard, he's volunteering his time with the nonprofit Operation SPLASH, helping to preserve the waterways. Jimmy and his son also built the iconic "SPLASH Man" that sits outside of its headquarters on Woodcleft Ave. although it does have quite a story behind its making.
For those looking to get a glimpse at the amazing treasures at Jimmy's shop, or a hard to find part for your car; head down Buffalo Ave., its hard to miss this unique shop.