24 July 2009

Who Needs Clean Clothes?

Another sign that New York is becoming a bourgeois place unwelcoming to people of more meager means: laundromats are disappearing.

This has been happening in my neighborhood for some time. Not The Villager reports it's happening in Greenwich Village where, apparently, everyone now has a washer-dryer.

Add to the list of closings the laundromat and cleaners at 302 W. Fourth St., run by the Lees, a husband-and-wife team who have been at this location for 26 years. The Lees said they were too busy to talk and didn’t want to draw attention to their leaving the area. Major Associates — the landlord, according to New York City property records — decided not to renew the lease...

The laundromats that have disappeared in the last few years include Harry Chong’s, at Waverly Place and Charles St., which closed after 60 years in business; the Stinky Sock, on W. Fourth St., and the Charles Street Laundromat.

Most recently, Cesmar Laundromat, on 11th St., closed earlier this year.

“The mom-and-pop businesses are important to a neighborhood because of the relationships we form with the people who own them,” said Barbara Morris, who has lived in the area for more than 10 years and brings her cleaning to the Lees. “I have relationships with people, not with corporate brands. The landlords don’t seem to get it that business is all about relationships.”

Despite the recession, monthly rents are still high in the West Village, said a small retailer who asked to remain anonymous. He looked around at his business neighbors and pointed across the street at an empty storefront with more space; the landlord wanted to charge the former merchant double when his lease expired.

Greed is good. Good for nothing.


Unknown said...

I'm sure the huge water bills arn't helping much.

TUWD said...

the dry cleaners where you can just drop it off and pick it up later are hurting them. they do all the work offsite or in the basement, so minimal real estate is required.

Ryan said...

Same thing happened to a laundromat on Smith St. run by an old Russian woman. (I forget the name.) She said the landlord had forced her out. Now there is one do-it-yourself laundromat in Cobble Hill, on Court St. and Warren. If I had to use it weekends, instead of weekdays when I go, I would suffer from claustrophobia it is so darn crowded.

Jill said...

We lost our favorite laundromat on Avenue A, and it became a bar called Drop Off Service, just to mock us.