NEW YORK CITY — When it comes to getting one’s clothes washed and dried in Manhattan, it can be a case of feast or famine.
Washers and dryers are becoming a Manhattan status symbol, according to the New York Times. Home washers and dryers are more common in the suburbs. Only about 20% of the apartments in the city have washers and dryers.
However, demand is increasing, and condominium developers are making these appliances part of the standard package. Even older buildings are relaxing longtime bans on washers and dryers.
One appraisal company president believes a washing machine can add as much as 5% to an apartment’s price tag. A listing broker believes a keeping-up-with-the-Joneses mentality may be fueling the interest in washers.
Technology is also leading the resurgence. Smaller front loaders are an easier fit for an apartment, and ventless dryers don’t need air pipes.
It’s a different story in Hell’s Kitchen on Manhattan’s west side. Laundromats are disappearing, according to the New York Post.
One of the last Laundromats in Hell’s Kitchen closed in late December, forcing some customers to take cabs to other locations or even hold laundry parties in apartments with the needed appliances. This closure has created a mile-long stretch without a store.
Laundromats are fleeing the area, says Christine Gorman, president of the West 55th Block Association. Gorman says residents have to go farther and farther to find a store, which decreases the quality of life.
In September, the largest Laundromat in the neighborhood closed its doors when the landlord threatened to raise its rent from $14,000 a month to $20,000 and demanded an $80,000 security deposit.
This problem really hit home when neighborhood residents had to lug their clothes through snow-packed streets during the recent Christmas snowstorm.
Councilwoman Gale Brewer has introduced a resolution to give tax breaks to owner-operated city businesses in order to deal with the lack of mom-and-pop businesses in the city.