on the plus side, delis that are open at 3am for that post-midnight snack you simply CANNOT live without, every kind of ethnic food imaginable, and ATMs wherever you need them.
on the down side, it's pretty much unheard of for people who live in 3rd floor walkups in Brooklyn (like yours truly) to have laundry in their building. this means that instead of being able to do laundry at your convenience (read: in your jammies, while reading a book), once a week or, if you're like us, once every few weeks, you have to haul a shopping cart threatening to buckle under the weight of your dirty clothes a block and a half to the laundromat. so. not. fun.
especially on a gorgeous spring day when you want to put on your cutest tank top and take the dog to the park.
but the new york city laundromat is an urban institution--ultimately, it's the greatest representation of the democracy of city life. There, the urban hipsters' ironic t-shirts meld with dog toys that desperately need a clean, that sweater I need to wear to work on Tuesday, newborns' onesies, and the granny panties of the lady who has lived on the block since her own infancy.
For several hours on any given weekend, we separate our lights and darks together. We move our wets to the dryers in a synchronized dance. We stand in solidarity against the dryer that has been marked Out of Order since we moved to the neighborhood. We make room for each other on the folding tables in a silent understanding that, while none of us really wants to be there, for a few moments, we are comrades in arms.
Some people dream of their futures and of wonderful, extravagant things--fancy cars, big houses, sailboats, country club memberships, box seats at Shea Stadium. My dreams are much more pedestrian. Some day, I hope to have a washing machine--and, wait for it, a dryer--to call my very own.
But I confess, there will be moments when I miss the poetry of the laundromat.