Monday, March 15, 2010

laundry

Over the last few months I've been picking up readers from all of over the country. Mostly family; friends of family; family of friends. And I realize that many of those folks have either a) never been to New York City or at least b) have never lived in NYC. So I thought it might be interesting to spend a little blog-time to write about some of the unique things about New York living.

People often say, "Wow you live in NYC, you must have the most exciting life." And yes, I would agree our life is pretty exciting but not for the reasons you think. We've had amazing opportunities over the years; eaten at incredible restaurants, seen great theatre, met some fascinating people- but when it comes right down to it, Chris and I are homebodies. There is little we enjoy doing more than spending a Saturday at home, reading, drinking coffee, or watching a movie. All things we could do regardless of where we live.

That said, there are still things that make New York living far different than what we imagine our life would be almost anywhere else.

My first example is laundry. Chris and I have not had a washer and dryer in our home - ever. Prior to living in NYC we were just too poor, and lived in apartment buildings where that wasn't included. And now, it's just a rarity. Unless you sneak one in (usually against building code) or live in a new high-rise coop (not at all Chris' and my style) then you're going to have to make due with the laundromat.

To survive a New York Laundromat you must have:

1) A laundry tote. In that tote you keep the following: detergent, dryer sheets, a plastic bag (to bring home what you don't intend to dry), a coin purse, a bleach pen, and a laundry brush. It's also a good idea to make sure the bag is big enough for a book, a water bottle, and a snack.

2) A laundry bag. We lucked out in this department. Chris still has his old Navy bag - a giant green, over the shoulder, canvas bag that can easily hold a week's worth of laundry.

3) A "granny cart"; called such because you often see elderly women pushing these little metal miracles around grocery stores and pharmacies. Now under most circumstances, you want a laundry bag that you can sling over your shoulder or carry like a back pack. Yes, you will look a bit like a porter accompanying climbers up K2, but it does keep your hands free. That said there are some circumstances (i.e. being 9 months pregnant) where lugging a 30 pound bag of laundry on your back is not an option. In which case, you must have a granny cart in which you can roll your clothes. The cart must have sturdy wheels as you will, at times, be going up and down stairs, over mountains of snow, or through 6 inch puddles of rain.

An important thing to know about visiting the laundromat is that it's all about timing. I tend to get up before 7 on Saturday or Sunday mornings, so I can get across the street and throw in a load before the crowd hits. There is nothing more infuriating than waiting for a washer or dryer to free up, especially if the laundress has gone AWOL. In the same vein, if you leave during the cycle, which I often do now that the laundromat is just across the street, you must make note of when you need to return. Someone will empty your dryer (dry clothes or not) the minute it stops spinning.

Now there are some New Yorkers (many of which are dear friends) who find it much easier just to drop off their laundry and let someone else do it for them. A great service that costs a considerable amount of money. We all have our luxuries. I tend to favor good food. And, if I have to lug our clothes to the laundromat on a Saturday morning, so we can go out to dinner on Saturday night - I'll almost always choose dinner out.

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