A Dryer that Dries, Please

One of the most coveted amenities in a Manhattan apartment is a washing machine and dryer. Not in your building or on your floor, but inside your actual apartment – as in, yours. Having moved from a place where this is not an amenity but a given, I knew to ask this question about each apartment before I set an appointment to see it. I made a vow with myself that the one concession I would not make was regarding my laundry. This was my second tour of duty in Manhattan, and I was a professional.

To know that there are million-dollar apartments in the city that don’t have washing machines and dryers is to begin to understand that size, price point and location of an apartment often have no bearing whatsoever on the likelihood of washer-dryer connections. “Do what I do and send your laundry out,” advised one broker. “Lots of people in the city take their laundry to wash/dry/fold each week,” she added. Adamant that this would not be my laundry reality, I continued my search in earnest for fully equipped units. 

The apartment we ended up renting did indeed have a washing machine and a dryer. Score! And while they were not full-size, I felt a real sense of accomplishment in having found them at all. A handsome stackable unit in the hall closet (with no room for a basket or laundry soap, mind you), I was feeling pretty good about myself.

And then it came to my attention (quite by accident while at the appliance store and prior to doing any laundry), that what we had, as the snarky salesman informed me, was a fancy hair dryer instead of a clothes dryer.

“I’m sorry, a what?” I asked in total disbelief.

“See this plug?” he says showing me the cord of the same dryer that’s in my apartment.  “It’s not a 220 like on regular dryers. It’s just a normal plug. So it doesn’t have the heating capabilities that regular dryers do. It’s more like a fancy hair dryer.”

I felt a pit in my stomach and a profound sense of having been duped by my broker. All sorts of thoughts raced through my mind, ranging from “We paid what for an apartment with a faux dryer?” to “Dryers can have something other than a 220-plug…wtf?” The latter became a mantra of mine for weeks to come.

In my first experiment with my fancy hair dryer, I set the timer for 90 minutes and hoped for the best. At 90 minutes the clothes were somewhat warm, but not dry. I set it for another 30 minutes and finally got what I was after – dry clothes. Let’s review: It took two hours to dry a medium-sized load of clothes, sans towels or jeans. What?

As it turned out, I gave in and started sending my laundry out. This being Manhattan, there was a dry cleaner on every corner. And the one that happened to be next door to my building at the time was run by an incredibly warm and friendly mother/son team. To this day, every time I’m in the city I wave hello as I walk by Ace Cleaners, seven years running. Popping my head in from time to time, they recently asked to see pictures of my girls.

Who says the Big Apple can’t be warm?

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