What is the strangest thing you’ve ever found on the sidewalk?

lost shoe

When I first saw this post on New Columbia Heights about someone finding a headless rooster on the sidewalk, my first thoughts were:

(a) Ewww.

(b) How noteworthy is finding a dead fowl on the sidewalk?

(c) Gross.

But to sidebar for a moment…

The writers assumption was that the rooster lost its nut as part of a Santeria ritual (which is different than a Sangria ritual, where you would just get drunk with the rooster, then maybe run with a bull together, but definitely no beheading).

This makes sense. I mean, outside of fearing that your neighborhood was suddenly infested by vampire chickens, why else would you cut the head off of a rooster and leave it laying on the sidewalk? (Hey, if they can make a movie about vampire dogs–why not vampire poultry?)


I’m curious what is the most unusual thing you’ve ever found/come across on a sidewalk? I’m sure you have some great stories on this.

My “most unusual thing on a sidewalk” is actually kinda lame. I am constantly perplexed when I find single shoes on the street–and this happens all the time. How can someone lose a single shoe? Wouldn’t you notice that, like, right away?

I realized how lame this observation was when I once shared it with a friend, who immediately reminded me:

(a) that one time a man defecated on the sidewalk next to me, so I guess what he left behind was a little odd to see on a sidewalk, and
(b) that he himself had once found a prosthetic human leg laying in the middle of a sidewalk.

So tell me–what’s your best story about finding some strange thing on the sidewalk?

73 Comment

  • It wasn’t exactly on the sidewalk, but before they rebuilt the plaza in Columbia Heights, I came across the detached front bumper of a car there:

  • Oops, wrong link!
    It wasn’t exactly on the sidewalk, but before they rebuilt the plaza in Columbia Heights, I came across the detached front bumper of a car there:

  • There’s a decomposing piece of pigeon on the sidewalk of Rock Creek Church between Georgia and 9th.

    Gross, I know. I heaved a couple of times the other morning walking past it. Sorry.

    Fun thing I found this weekend: A teeny-tiny empty Patron bottle. It was almost adorable.

  • a large bottle (still sealed) of a very expensive Balsamic vinegar

  • Hmm, not in the strange category, but I saw an old friend from NYC a few weeks ago who I hadn’t seen in years. He reminded me that I still have the small steamer trunk that was left on the curb in Greenwich Village, and which he helped me load into a cab 20 years ago. 20 years later, I still have a street find right in the center of my home, though every other piece of furniture has been replaced in that time.

  • In my years in the district, i’ve found some pretty random shit on sidewalks. Countless syringes, condom wrappers, nickel bags (mostly empty, one full – and no, i did not smoke it), rats the size of dogs, a pile of chicken bones.
    and then there was that man who was shot to death a few doors up from me. they found him on the sidewalk.

  • Four crack baggies. I usually find opened baggies all over the place. My husband and I place punchbaggie. But these still had the goods in them. I walked by them in the morning, by 11AM they were gone.

  • About 20 years ago on the traffic island in the middle of Connecticut Avenue at Q St, there was entire living room set up. It had a sofa and armchair, a coffee table, an area rug, a side table and lamp and even a magazine rack. It stayed there for over two weeks, rain and shine, each day a little more deconstructed, and it made me smile every time I saw it.

  • Walking by big bear yesterday I saw the completely cleaned carcass of a large bird. It was surrounded by a bunch of small black birds who were clearly eating it. It was too big to be a pigeon. Maybe a turkey or chicken?

    • yes! i can’t stop wondering about that. a chicken was my initial guess, but the ribcage seems too small.
      also, (sort of relatedly) i’m curious how long that little empty bottle of vodka will hang out by the bikeshare accross the street.

    • Saw that yesterday morning as I was walking to work. At the time, it still had all the meat on it and was clearly roasted a chicken (maybe from the supermarket). This morning, it’s just the remaining bones…and the small black birds eating any remainders.

  • A memory card that I’m forced to possess forever, unwilling to delete a couple’s vacation pictures, unable to find its owner.

  • I totally get the whole single shoe thing. I once lost a single shoe on a high school swim trip to NC. To this day, I have no idea how or where in the world that shoe vanished. I had it when we left in the afternoon, and it was gone by the time we arrived that night. Somewhere between DC and North Carolina there must be a lonely, rotting Doc Martin.

    (Even a decade later my mother will not let me live this down.)

  • The leg of a deer

  • Earlier this morning I came across a dirty trucker hat with giant gold letters that said, “Jesus is My Boss.”

  • Somebody put their dead frickin Christmas tree in front of my house on the sidewalk. Then a nice man came along and hung empty liquor bottles around it as decorations. I love DC! *sigh*

    • DPW directs homeowners to leave there their xmas trees on the sidewalk near the curb starting January 3rd.

    • Hmmm…I woke up to a present of a Christmas tree today. I guess putting it out in front of his or her own house was too much of an eye sore.

  • My friend thought his car was stolen, only later to find out he just forgot where he parked it. He discovered this when he received a note from adjudication about not paying his parking ticket. Of course the note had the location. So, strangest thing the DMV ever found on a DC street, my friend’s car! 😉

    • I had a similar experience… DPW started a pipeline project and towed all the cars on the street (including mine), but they towed it to a street sweeping zone, so it was towed again. I found it about a week later after having reported it stolen. It was about 6 blocks from where I parked it.

  • once i found an empty booze bottle and a pair of white plastic Kanye West-style sunglasses in the back seat of my car! party time! it was during Howard homecoming weekend 2009, I had accidentally left my rear passenger door unlocked… and apparently someone used my backseat to host a party. okay, so it wasn’t found on the sidewalk… but in the backseat of my car, which was parked by the sidewalk? in any case, it makes a good story. and i hosed off the glasses and sometimes wear them around the house when we have company over.

    • Wow…that reminds me of that Seinfeld episodes when the hookers used the backseats of parked cars to conduct their activity. I hope your car wasn’t part of something like that. Did you check under the seats for condom wrappers?

    • Tired of having his car windows broken, an old friend of mine used to leave unlocked so potential thieves could rifle around without breaking anything. Soon thereafter he began finding empty liquor bottles. One morning he found the culprit, a homeless man sleeping in his driver’s seat. (This was in the 1980’s in NY, even the upper east side had some grit to it at the time)

      • yeah, i thought of that. or, rather, tried NOT to think about that. and another time, i found an enormous fake gold hoop earring on my front seat. if my car could talk, the stories it could tell…

  • I found a hot pink dildo and weave within a few feet of each other on a sidewalk a few months ago. Not sure if they were related, but certainly had me thinking all day the scenarios that might result in their hasty disposal on that lonely street corner.

  • http://maps.google.com/maps?q=519+h+st+ne+dc&layer=c&sll=38.899971,-76.998746&cbp=12,151.37,,2,5.92&cbll=38.900204,-76.998839&hl=en&ie=UTF8&hq=&hnear=519+H+St+NE,+Washington+D.C.,+District+of+Columbia,+20002&ll=38.900201,-76.998721&spn=0.005978,0.0109&t=h&z=17&iwloc=A&panoid=OgRYiihwxKJRRAPKLoZhNQ

  • damnit, and i’ve been looking for an old rooster to make authentic coq au vin

  • A bird having a street fight with a rat. It was amazing.

  • outside my building at 13th and N, I was walking my dog on a sunday morning(ish) and we encountered a whole quiche on the sidewalk…as if some gay dude was on his way to his bestie’s birthday brunch and had a little fright and dropped it.

  • Emmaleigh504

    I find lots of bras and underwear. People like to get naked in my hood.

  • An oven spraypainted hot pink and gold, with a tray of cupcakes (with pink frosting) inside. RI Ave NE.

  • Tumbleweaves. That’s when you see a piece of someone’s weave on the sidewalk. See em all over CH.

  • Early morning on the road on the Ellipse: a rat with an owl close behind, both freshly run over and smashed

  • myself on a sunday morning

  • the headless rooster was my find too, although it was already claimed in this entry. However, I think it might be the discarded and discraced corpse of a cock-fight loser vs. a voodoo ritual. Isn’t cock-fighting a big pasttime in hispanic culture? It was laying in front of an apartment building whose tenants are about 95% hispanic. So just a guess. My dog was very interested in it…gross.

  • Packs of feral teens. Although it isn’t so strange these days.

  • My neighbor found a live Koi gasping for air? water? on our street a couple of summers ago. Where the heck it came from is anyone’s guess, since none of the houses in our street have fish ponds. We came to the conclusion that a bird must have fished it out of a pond somewhere close by, and had dropped it while it was flying over our street. Alas, the poor thing didn’t live long enough to tell the tale.

    • I once found a totally bald new-hatched baby bird that way– probably snatched from its nest by a bluejay that then dropped it. I took it home and wonder of wonders, it survived on whatever we fed it (eggs, definitely… maybe some oatmeal, some fruit…). Grew up into a nice tame little sparrow.

      Koi is weirder. Mine’s happier.

  • A historically important Cook Brothers Mountain bike from the early 1980’s. Sold it to a bicycle museum in San Diego for a mint.

  • last year in february, during the snow storm, we found someone’s camera in the snow by meridian hill park. gave it to secu guard of that museum on 16th across from meridian hill park… by the way if you lost a camera by there, you should go claim it..

    • OOOOOMMMMMMGGGGG!!! i think that is my camera!! holy christ! i am going over there tonight to see! what museum, do you remember?

  • I found an actual message in a bottle on a beach – can that count? The bottle was from Aukland NZ and I found it on Ducie Island (near Pitcairn) I think it was 8 months since it had been launched.

    • What’d it say? Please say a map to buried doubloons.

      • I wish! It was just a name, address & date. I think it was an impetuous offering – written on a parking garage ticket, stuck in a beer bottle and sealed with a plastic champagne-type cork. I sent a postcard and tried several other ways to track down the sender, but never did.

        But Ducie island did have plenty of natural treasures to offer!

  • When I was living in Brooklyn years ago I found some chain mail sitting on the street in Bushwick. A welcome change from the syringes and empty heroin baggies that were strewn about the street during those days.


  • $300 and a bag of coke. No joke.

  • How about “Best Gay Sex Club.”

  • a hamhock

  • on the corner of Sherman and Harvard outside of the electric plant, there have been two dehydrated catfish swimming on the sidewalk. yum

  • I found this pretty sweet drawing. How would YOU kill a zombie?


  • I WISH it were more unusual or odd to see chicken-wing bones on the sidewalk. Unfortunately, they’re everywhere. (I love chicken wings, too, but there are trash cans on every corner!)

  • boochow

    1900 block of Florida Ave NW. White dildo, my dog almost picked it up. NOT a squueky toy.

  • Walking down Market Street in San Francisco about 10 years ago I came across a sidewalk “art exhibit” put on by some of the local homeless. It was a line of about a dozen open pizza boxes with a different defecation in each one. Each producer had then signed his or her name to the inside of the lid. It was interesting but at the same time made me want to puke.

  • A dead body. There used to be a crew of homeless dudes that hung out in the little park at Champlain/Euclid/Columbia Rd in Adams Morgan about 15 years ago. Many of them would sleep in the park and wake up in the early morning, sit around drinking coffee, and I’d say hi to them on my way to work. One day there was just one guy, lying on the ground next to the fountain. I thought it was a little odd, since they were usually up pretty early. Gave him a little roll – pretty clear that rigor had already set in.

  • A used pregnancy test by Gallatin St. I guess the girl couldn’t wait till she got home. I wanted to take a stick to flip it around to see the results but I didn’t.

  • Wow, some amazing stuff on the streets of the naked city.

    Once I found a dieing bat on the sidewalk in front of my office. I used to run in Meridian Hill/Malcolm X Park so I’ve found lots of crack-filled bags and assorted amounts of money, oh and two dead guys (this was the early to mid-1980’s). When I was a really young kid my family lived on 13th Street right at Logan Circle – I found a small book of poetry signed by John F. Kennedy. I took it to school (Garrison Elementary) to show my 2nd grade teacher and she wouldn’t give it back. She claimed that I had told her she could have it. I suspect she’s made a good bit of money off of that book.

    Other than that – various used condoms, weaves, bullets, etc. City living is forever a treasure hunt.

    • Wow, that story about the second grade teacher is one of the worst things I’ve ever heard. I hope it did not embitter you from that early age. Yuck.

  • So we have black, white and pink dildos so far – I never actually thought the color mattered. . .

  • I think the price of coke went up, because I found four hundred dollar bills, twice folded, on a well-traveled sidewalk on the Hill. I put an ad in Craigslist but no one could ID the amount or that the bills were folded (I forgot how I asked, something like name the amount and how arranged, and one person guessed, $150 tied together). It was fun spending those 4 C-notes.

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