To someone who lives beyond New York City’s toothsome embrace, it may be alien to fetishize laundry this way. This essay is not for you. Nor is it for the self-satisfied, me-too commuter who owns a fully-amenitized condo/prison in some far-off Mordor like Edgewater or College Point, because all the stainless-steel appointments in the world can’t brighten the grim irrelevance that coats such a place like a film. No, this essay is for people like me: overweight, underdressed, and balding by the minute. No wait, that’s not right. “Like me” in the sense that I’ve made peace with NYC’s many indignities, but I still hold close an audacious hope that one day, I will be able to wash my own shirt inside my own apartment.
As most New Yorkers are all too painfully aware, this is pie in the sky. Finding an apartment with a washer/dryer that you can afford is like finding a unicorn who can do an impression of Frank Caliendo doing an impression of Jimmy Hoffa’s unmarked grave. In other words, “somewhat difficult.” I should know -- I’ve seen me do it.
Unless your name is Tad and you work in leverage finance, you’ve probably had a similar experience. (Or you live in Queens, which, like... congratulations on “having it all,” bruh. All of us over here in civilization are really happy for you.) When I finally found a place that didn’t suck pigeon taint, I was so punch-drunk over its multiple windows and recently caulked grout that I was able to push my washer/dryer pipe dream to the side. I resigned myself to reality. I made a compromise.
Laundry in New York is bleak choreography.
I have regretted this moment for six months. I will regret it forever, I think. Just like that, with neither pomp nor circumstance, the city snatched another shred of dignity from the tattered rag heap of my soul. I accepted my fate with uncharacteristic grace. I had no more tears to cry.
I am a man whose back has been broken by the crushing weight of inescapable disappointment, but I still have laundry to do. There’re plenty of ways for this town’s hapless proles to clean their clothes, and each is categorically inferior to a washer/dryer of one’s own. Allow me to contrast the sublime grandeur of the in-unit apparatus with the heinous realities of these various methods.