Sometimes in the hustle of pushing your way down the stairs to get to the subway, or walking through block after block of dirty winter slush that the romance of living in New York seems like a joke.
Carrying a heavy laundry bag that won’t properly close down four flights of stairs and then an avenue down seems like a huge hassle.
But then I’m greeted by the local Greek man who runs the laundromat. He sits on a perch by the window, eagerly opening the door for anyone walking in. Despite his broken English, we always manage to have some kind of conversation. Usually around the number of dollar bills I want turned into quarters. If you look confused or something doesn’t work he’s immediately at your side to fix it. He once gave me a tour of the inside of the dryer when mine wasn’t working- who knew there are flames inside!
Sometimes on Saturday afternoons, lots people gather to do laundry. Often 4 or 5, all part of the Greek community, and all watching whatever the soccer game of the day is (with commentators loudly yelling in Greek, of course).
These are the parts of NYC that you don’t often hear about. The neighborhoods.
Before moving here it was likely my biggest misconception. I figured moving to NYC meant living near Time Square, constantly fighting with crowds of people and knowing no one. Instead it means a normally private task, like doing laundry, is suddenly a public affair.
So, as much as I complain about doing laundry, it’s actually a highlight of my week. It makes me feel ever so slightly, more like a New Yorker.