I moved into my current apartment in November 2001, on the heels of the Sept. 11 attacks, boxing everything up for a move away from downtown Manhattan to a place uptown. I exiled some stuff to a storage outfit in Nassau County, N.Y., and there the pile rested, a ghost whose existence was proved only by the monthly checks I’ve written ever since.
I never visited the space. I was never nervous about that situation, though, until the premiere of Storage Wars in 2010. Here was an entire cottage industry built upon detritus much like mine, left behind and — when unpaid for — gobbled up by voracious prospectors who would swoop in, buy it for a steal, then reap huge profits.
I began to panic a little. Maybe my storage company was counting on my evident indifference, knowing that behind the padlocked door of my unit, there was only air, because my things had long ago ended up in the hands of someone like the stars of Storage Wars: New York.
The original Storage Wars is a marvel of casting, not action. What little happens on the show — bidding on lockers, disinterring things from lockers, establishing value for things in lockers — is enlivened by the characters. Dave Hester is a mean, free-spending mogul; Barry Weiss a charismatic, eccentric collector who drives restored vintage cars; Darrell Sheets is a lumbering goof; and Jarrod Schulz and Brandi Passante are a brash-but-loving young couple.
Many of those archetypes spill over to the New York spinoff, which gives it a reassuring patina. The macher figure is Joe Pauletich, who goes by Joe P and comes off as a well-aged hippie with a vicious tactician streak. He is likely to do battle with the mouthy Mike Braiotta, who in the premiere chugged Pepto-Bismol from the bottle and jawed more than he bid. The other buyers are two dippy vintage clothing enthusiasts, Candy Olsen and Courtney Wagner; and the owners of a vintage furniture store in Hoboken, N.J., Chris Morelli and Tad Eaton.
They all convene on a Moishe’s Self Storage in Brooklyn, but what happens inside is pretty negligible. Instead, stay for the archetypes. The quiet killer Joe P establishes order, Braiotta brings acidity, and the others behave less like auction participants than like people who are aware that they’re starring in a show about auction participants.
Still, the show is better cast than the Texas edition, which arrived last year and remains catastrophically low-stakes and dull.