Friday, July 31, 2009

Lee's Laundry


On West 4th Street, next to Left Bank Books, Lee's Laundry has closed after 30 years in Greenwich Village.

photo: me-myself-i's flickr

A reader sent in a flickr link with the news, saying, "I asked Mr. Lee if I could take his photograph. but he said 'No, I'm too sad.' When I asked if the rent had been raised too high, he said no, that was the strange thing, he had not been offered a lease. It was a very sad scene, nothing was left in the place except Mr. Lee and the clothes that hadn't been picked up by their owners hanging on the rack... I wonder if this location is destined to be another Marc Jacobs?"

photo: my flickr

I have been watching the little Chinese launderer's for awhile now, wondering how long it would last. Surrounded by Marc Jacobs boutiques, it was like a vulnerable gazelle circled by hungry lions.

It had the tell-tale signs of an imminent vanisher--peeling paint, an interior that makes you want to peer inside, a sense of mystery. It gave you a feeling other than the plastic taste in your mouth that much of Manhattan now gives. It gave you an old New York feeling. And now it's gone.

photo: my flickr

Please read "About the Lees", where a long-time neighbor writes, "I have grown up with the Lees. They were there when I came home from high school and went to pick up my dad’s shirts... I bet they’ve been there for you too."

See Also:
Chin's Laundry


BrooksNYC said...

Ever loss is a new sadness. But this one really breaks my heart.

Anonymous said...

Fuck this city. It's DEAD and will never come back. Let the yup fucks take it over. They already won.

mullagatawny said...

This is very sad for them, indeed. Another Marc Jacobs? Probably a good bet.

Anonymous said...

This is sad. Use to pass it often. I used a laundry on Hudson/Horatio. It closed to become something egregiously unnecessary. Tried one on Eighth; encountered a BTW (bitch with attitude)who started telling me what they would not launder (no, I was not bringing in Patrick Bateman's linens!) I assume the Lee story will get no human interest coverage in the Times. A city dies; only your blog reports it.

Andrew Brust said...

Thanks for linking to my original post on this matter. I also created the sign in the Lees' door that you photographed.

I brought my whole familiy to the store to say goodbye this evening. My kids won't understand the loss, of course, but it was important to me that they get to say goodbye and not just see the store running one day and vacant the next.

This change was inevitable, but the landlord handled it badly. He really assailed the Lees' pride and dignity. There's no good or logical reason for that.

My heart aches.

BrooksNYC said...

First post in Comments:

I typed "Ever" when I meant "Every." Sorry, Jeremiah. I usually proof carefully before posting.

If it wouldn't be a huge pain in the ass, would you fix it for me? Much obliged.


Jeremiah Moss said...

andrew, thanks for having your site and being a good neighbor to the Lees. you mention giving donations to them--if that's something people could do, do you have info on how they can send cards to the Lees?

brooks, i can't edit comments, but don't worry, no one's copyediting you here. you can delete your comments and resend if you like.

Anonymous said...

How many times can you keep killing a city that's already dead? Apparently it's possible. When we start to see vital businesses being edged out like this it's possible. We've now gone beyond gentrification, and reached a new "low", although to many, most of whom haven't lived here until fairly recently, this is progress. I wonder how they'll start to feel when they can't find a place to have their panties washed? I don't think the folks at Duane Reade and Pinkberry provide that service.

Andrew Brust said...

Regarding sending something to the Lees, I actually don't have their address. I do have their phone number and could call and insist to Mr. Lee that he give it to me, but what he told me yesterday was to send mail to the store (302 W 4th St, NY, NY 10014) and Postal Service forwarding would take care of the rest. My concern there is that anything that the post office missed and got into the Landlord's hands wouldn't make it to its final destination.

I would offer that people could send stuff to me (I'm at 308 W 4th), but since my advice would be to make a check out to Cash or to send somethinbg to me via PayPal, I think that could create an uncomfortable situation for people (I promise to get everything to the Lees, but still, this is the Internet, and I'm not sure *I* would feel comfortable contributing in that manner).

Nonetheless the offer stands and if there's enough response in comments here or on the "abouttthelees" blog, then I will call the Lees and get their address.

Anonymous said...

Oh, sad! Speaking of a long-time commercial tenant not being offered a lease renewal; the former site of the Chelsea liquor shop on 9th Ave. (btwn 17th and 18th sts.) is soon to reopen as a "Subway!!"