simple is beautiful
New York Daily Photo: Wash and Ry
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Saturday, 14 July 2007

Wash and Ry

I'm fascinated by places like this. This laundromat is located in prime Park Slope (13th Street and 8th Avenue) - one of the most expensive neighborhoods in Brooklyn. Yet the place looks third world. All the backs of the chairs outside are broken off, letters from the sign are broken or missing, a slat of plywood covered with graffiti backs the door and then there's that hideous faux brick siding. Everything is run down, broken, makeshift or slightly askew. The inside is not more pleasant - cavernous, dark and gray. In the suburbs, a place like this would never survive in a good neighborhood - people would drive to a nicer place and eventually they would go out of business. My theory is that in the city, customers patronize essential services which are very local since most errands are done on foot. These shop owners have a captive audience - customers will put up with a run down business if it is close to home. Also, most New York City residents are exposed to older buildings and hence tolerant of the structurally and cosmetically imperfect. Unfortunately, this type of scenario can not always be explained by poor financials - many small business owners view their operations as cash cows, taking out as much as possible without putting anything back in to keep a place in a decent state of repair. I understand from a neighborhood resident that the owner is quite fierce and her golden retriever has snarled more than once at her own dog ...


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