Neighborhood: Queens Harbour
Neighbor since: 1999
It started with a smiling, doe-eyed stuffed beaver Arnie Malasky spotted on a business trip to Denver, which he thought would make a perfect gift for his then-girlfriend, Ronnie.
“I wanted her to name it after me,” he said. Instead, she went with “Thumper” and adopted “Beaver” as a pet name for her future husband.
More than 40 years later, he’s amassed roughly 300 beavers. He has beaver shot glasses and beaver cuff links; beaver cartoons and beaver children’s books (including one in German); a beaver quilt; a beaver doorknocker; a Swarovski crystal beaver; a beaver’s jaw; a mahogany “rocking beaver” meant for a child but built to hold 250 pounds; and a paper bag beaver his son, Seth, constructed with Scotch tape as a toddler in the late 1970s. One imposter — a capybara, a tailless beaver cousin — hides among his collection.
Part of the fun is the challenge: Though beavers live throughout much of North America and Europe, memorabilia for the buck-toothed rodent is rare outside the Pacific Northwest and Argentina, a country that in 1946 imported 50 beavers to spur a fur industry. Friends have brought back beaver-chewed logs from trips to British Columbia (arousing questions from airport security). Acquaintances have even joined in the hunt: An employee at the Greenbrier hotel in White Sulphur Springs, W.Va., recalled meeting Malasky and sent him a taxidermied beaver.
— Katie Hendrick
IN HIS OWN WORDS: “Some are very valuable; many are just toys. But I love them all equally.”