The Art of Laundering: 12 Thoughts on the Laundering of the Clothes

When it comes to washing clothes in New York City, I’m very good…and I’m very bad. I have absolutely no problem getting my clothes clean, folded and put away nicely throughout the actual washing & folding process. That’s the easy part. I’ve been washing clothes since I was 8 years old; it’s not a problem in the least.

However, when it comes to washing clothes in public, that’s an entirely different story. And it’s not just at Laundromats either. Even when I was in college, taking my clothes down to wash my clothes alongside my roommates and classmates was an artful experience as well.

But having lived here in city on a campus, in Brooklyn, and now in a gentrified part of Harlem, one of those experiences have stood the test of my patience and is clearly the most difficult washing experience there is. Laundering your clothes in Harlem, on the edge of projects and new condominiums is about as ridiculous an experience as there can be, and for good reason, of which of course I will explain.

But before I even get to that, I know what you’re asking, “Why don’t I just pay to have my clothes washed?” After all, the average load of clothes that I take to the Laundromat probably costs just $25 to have washed. Well, in the words of Martin Payne from the Martin Lawrence Show, “I can’t pay the five!” I save about $15-$17 per load by washing my clothes myself, and I just can’t wrap my head around paying somebody else all that extra money for something that literally takes 10 minutes of actual work.

You stick the clothes in the washing machine.

You pull them out.

You stick the clothes in the dryer.

You pull them out.

You fold them, and then you probably go back to sitting on your butt or whatever it was that you were doing while waiting for the washer and dryer to finish up.

So why pay someone to do that for you? Sorry, I don’t care how much money neither you nor I am making, I can’t fade it.

Why is washing clothes in Harlem so difficult? Here are the typical thoughts that go through my mind on a day in which I have to launder my clothes.

Thought Process #1: Going Down the Stairs

“I love this damn apartment, but 4 flights of stairs! It’s a great daily routine for my health, but if I take one wrong step with this bag of laundry on my back, it’s all over.” 

Thought Process #2: Arriving at the Laundromat

“Yes, it’s me again. I know you didn’t like my process the last time and had a few words for me, but I’m back. Just deal with it! It’s not like I come here by choice. You have a monopoly on the damn area, especially when I have this much laundry to carry down the street. And you can tell the little lady in the corner that I know she ratted me out for leaving my clothes in the washer for too long, too.” 

Thought Process #3: A little testosterone?

“No, there aren’t any men here. For a city, and a section of the city, supposedly loaded with singles, why does it always feel as if I’m the only man that goes to the Laundromat?” 

Thought Process #4: In need of change!

“Yes, I need change, and what do you mean ya’ll don’t have change for a $20? What do ya’ll think this is? One of the newsstands on 8th Avenue? Now I have to go all the way down the street to buy something from Duane Reade just to get some dollar bills so I don’t have to be bombarded with $20 worth of quarters for the next 2 weeks of my life.” 

Thought Process #5: Don’t worry about how I do it.

“No, I don’t sort my clothes by color! Mind your own business! I learned a long, long, long time ago, that sorting your whites from your colors was about as unnecessary when it comes to clothing as with was when it came to race. So long as I don’t use any bleach, my clothes are going to come out just fine, so don’t worry about me. You only need to sort things according to their level of delicacy or how soiled they are. So yes, blue trousers can go in the same washing machine as white, cotton shirt.” 

Thought Process #6: See you in a few.

“Yes, I’m leaving. Look, old lady, I have better things to do in my life than sit here and watch some machine spin around for the next 25 minutes. I’m going back to bang out this next post for my blog and I’ll be back in plenty of time to make sure your patron clothes-washers don’t have to wait for me to get my clothes out of the washing machine.” 

Thought Process #7: Ooops!

“Yes, you had to wait for me!” 

Thought Process #8: Damn you!

“No, I’m not sorry. Why would I be after you took my clothes out of the washer? And don’t you dare tell on me again, little lady in the corner!” 

Thought Process #9: Patience is key.

“Yes, I’m putting my clothes in the dryer for an hour. All of my clothes are entirely too big for me anyway, so I don’t have a problem with them shrinking. Besides, I’d rather go home and read “Very Smart Brothas” than rush back here just so the rest of you don’t have to wait for my dryer to finish.” 

Thought Process #10: Really unnecessary.
See Thought Process #7.

Thought Process #11: Not one more minute.

“No, I’m not going to fold my clothes here, because I’m not as anal about it as you are. The majority of clothes are t-shirts, pants and boxers anyway, so they can get wrinkled for all I care. Furthermore, I don’t want to have to be around you judgmental ladies and gents anymore. Damn, why does washing and folding clothes have to involve so much criticism?” 

Thought Process #12: The finale…

“Yes, I just might break my back carrying these clothes up 4 flights of steps.” 

Food Review: Sans Souci, Clinton Hill, Brooklyn

Brooklynites! This one’s for you!

I thought you all might be interested in this place, Sans Souci (330 Myrtle Avenue, Brooklyn, NY), a Caribbean-themed restaurant with an eclectic array of dishes for diversified prices.

Lord knows if I was still in BK, I would be there every night.

Shoot, let’s be honest. I still might be there every night.

Read this review on Sans Souci from the blog “The Local.”

Jessica Loudis’s question about good late night food in Fort Greene-Clinton Hill just got another answer. Sans Souci, a new Jamaican-fusion restaurant on Myrtle Avenue, very close to Fort Greene Park, is open for dining until 4 a.m. on Friday and Saturday nights, and until 2 a.m. every other night.

Their full menu is available for delivery until 10 p.m. weeknights and until midnight on Friday and Saturday. However, Sans Souci is more than a late-night dining spot. It is at once a sports pub, a top shelf Caribbean-themed bar with more than 40 Carib-themed cocktails on the menu and home to a top Jamaican-American chef. On the menu are 21 appetizers, 17 sides and 29 entrees, ranging from $7.50 to $22…

To read the rest of this post, check out “The Local…”

Going Local: City Council Rejects Plan for Mall…Good Job!

A couple days ago, the New York Times reported that the New York City Council voted to reject a $310 million project that would have built a mall at the Kingsbridge Armory in the Bronx. This project would have brought thousands of jobs to the area and would have made the Kingsbridge Armory more than just a big waste of space for the first time this century.

But the City Council was having none of it. They rejected the project by a vote of 45-1. The project was actually endorsed and pushed by Mayor Bloomberg, but given his falling popularity, as seen by his relatively close victory in last month’s mayoral election, Bloomberg’s clout was not enough to overturn the City Council’s overwhelming sentiment that a mall in the Bronx was bad for the city.

And I agree with them!

Yet you ask, “Why?” After all, this project would have undoubtedly brought a ton of jobs to the Bronx, and would have brought a lot of tax revenue to the city as well. Not to mention, it would have fixed up that eyesore, and as unpopular as term gentrification is, gentrification often has a positive effect on the economy, something that can’t be ignored during recessionary times.

So what’s the City Council’s problem with this project? What’s my problem with the project?

Well, with this project, the owner of the project would spend $310 million on contrasting this mall, but would receiver over $50 million in tax credits and exemptions from New York. But that isn’t my issue at all. The problem is, in turn for getting that $50 million in tax credits and exemptions, the City Council asked that all jobs at the new mall have a minimum salary of $10/hour, which is $2.75 more than the state’s minimum wage. The owners balked at that suggestion and thus the Council balked at their project.

And I love it!

The notion that this mall was going to lease its store space to large, national companies and make millions of dollars of the revenues of Bronx inhabitants while paying their local employees an hourly wage that amounts to being able to afford a 1-bedroom with a roommate is completely preposterous. Yes, I know, many businesses that both you and I frequent wouldn’t be in existence if they were forced to pay employees nearly 40% more than the required minimum wage, but the overwhelming majority of those companies don’t benefit from tax breaks meant to lift the local economy.

So in my opinion, the City Council got it right on this one. Why should we allow a mall to be created and filled with Starbucks, Reebok, McDonald’s and the like if all they are going to do is pay employees as little as possible and take their hundred’s of thousands of dollars back to their headquarters in some other part of the country, ultimately, bringing little, if any, economic relief to the city of New York, and especially Bronx residents?

It makes no sense, and I’m glad to see that the City Council decided to stand up to Mayor Bloomberg and not benefit the capitalistic nature in us all on this accord.

Of course, in sharing my opinion with the Council, many have asked me, “Well, is it better to have minimum wage paying jobs or no jobs at all?” Of course, the former is better, but at what cost? The owner of this mall would receive $50 million in tax credits and exemptions, thereby adding $50 million their bottom line. On the other hand, it would take 3,333 minimum-wagers to make $50 million in one year, and that’s before taxes!

Maybe there are those in the Bronx who could have really made use of these jobs, and maybe even have bettered their lives. But in my opinion, we all would be better off if the government used that $50 million to benefit the individuals who could have used those jobs with some free education or training, so that next time around, minimum wage jobs won’t be so beneficial to our economy.

NYC for ≤ $7: Domino’s Pizza

Alright, so in my effort to help out with the recession and the overall quality of life of people in New York City, as well as the many who come to visit, I’m giving you things to do for $7 or less as often as I can.

So today’s pick?

Domino’s Pizza

Don’t worry, my picks won’t always be food related (even though that appears to be my specialty), and I know Domino’s isn’t New York specific, but this is the first one so deal with it! Anyway, Domino’s is actually having a pretty decent promotional discount in which you can receive a 1-topping, large pizza for just $5.99. However, there is one caveat to this deal. You have to go pick it up from the store. I’m sure not everyone is as close to a Domino’s as I am, but if you’re a frequent pizza eater, this is a hard deal to pass up—especially if you can stand the taste Domino’s pizza pie.

Warning: While the pizza is just $5.99, obviously they will want to up-sell you and get you to order one of their far more expensive side items, which actually can go above the $7 threshold.

Bonus: And if you have friends or a family, don’t worry about being limited to just one pizza. With this deal, you can order as many 1-topping, large pizzas you want to, as the limit is advertised as being 200 pizzas (or something like that). Also, according to, there is a way to order your pizza online and get a two-topping pizza. You can check out the instructions on how to do so at there site. I would post them on my site, but I would like to have Domino’s sponsor me sometime in the near future!

C’mon Man!: Sightings in Harlem (and Brooklyn)

Seriously? What’s wrong with people?

According to reports, these places have been going under their new names sense around last summer. And even though I’ve ran past this place nearly a hundred times since then, I’m just noticing it now—perhaps because subconsciously I can’t believe this shit!

As if there aren’t enough stereotypes out there, a couple people with a huge stake in the unhealthy eating of poor black people in Harlem and Brooklyn have decided that they can capitalize off the name of the person who will perhaps go down as the most influential African-American individual ever.

But to associate that individual’s name with chicken?

The name “Obama Fried Chicken” has to be the most racist DBA in the history of mankind. Supposedly, workers at these places have said that their owners renamed their establishments to pay homage to the newly elected President, but let’s be real—no self-respecting black person with the fortitude or education to run a “chicken shack” would name their eatery “Obama Fried Chicken.” This of course leads me to believe that the owners of these pseudo restaurants aren’t black—and journalistic integrity aside; I’m not exactly taking a shot in the dark when I say that.

So why would someone, outside of the black race, name their place “Obama Fried Chicken?” Is it racism? Possibly. But that almost seems suicidal. One couldn’t possibly n name a profitable venue something that could possibly deter its customers from buying their “one of a kind” menu items.

So is it really homage to the President? I highly doubt that, too. Homage to the President would be a picture hanging on the wall, a special sandwich on the menu or maybe even an “Obama Day” when they feed needy children for a few select hours. That’s homage. You don’t see anybody naming brothels after Bill Clinton, do you? (I know. That wasn’t fair.)

In the end, let’s call this what this really is. The owner of the newly-minted “Obama Fried Chicken” thinks he can sell more fried chicken with Obama’s appellation on his awning. Could he also be either sniggering at the effect of this name-change or really have an allegiance to Obama? Maybe. But in all reality, this is about money, and sadly, it will either result in more black people coming to these establishments, or at the very worst, it will have no effect on the place at all.

But you won’t catch me there, and if there is anything I can do about it, some type of complaint has to be sent the owner’s way. The owner of this place is already taking advantage of low-income society by feeding it cheap, unhealthy foods, not they want to take advantage of a profound black people by resorting him to the brand name behind their chicken shacks? C’mon Man! We can’t stand for that mess.

Around the Blogosphere – December 15, 2009

Every week I will take you “Around the Blogosphere” and share some of the more interesting posts some of the more interesting blogs that I follow and communicate with. Check it out, and let me know what you think!

For all of you “Afrobellas” out there looking for more and more natural hair styles, check out the Afrobella blog from one of Chicago’s own. In one of her recent pieces, she leaves the hair category for minute to discuss some “leopard” print furs. Don’t worry, there were no animals hurt in the making of this blog post.

If you haven’t heard of the popular videoblog, then you don’t know what you’re missing. Fortunately for you, you can get acquainted and up to date with the blog by checking out the latest series of “Dear Ko” episodes that they just finished. In the episode below, “Ko” covers relationships, careers and whole lot of other mess as she takes questions from their adoring audience.

Bill Cammack has a wonderful blog, which I recommend everyone check out. In one of his regular post, Cammack goes over how the term “Guilt by Association’ plays a role in everyone’s life, including his. I suggest you check it out, because it’s as funny as hell.

The blog “Black and (A)broad” has a lot that New Yorkers and the like can relate to. It has international living concerns, black issues, interracial relationship issues, marital issues and even child rearing comes into play. In fact, in one of the author’s latest post, she brings just about all of those issues into one when discussing one of the Netherlands customary traditions that took her a while to get used but is now widely accepted by her and her family.

Blog it out, bitch! Or at least read one! For starters, you can check out Nina’s “Blog It Out, Bitch” blog which details her life as a wife and mother of two living in suburban Atlanta. Occasionally she accomplishes her goals of doing movie and TV reviews, but the personal stuff is much better! If you don’t find her latest post funny, something is seriously wrong with you!

The FreshXpress is one of the hottest blogs out there. Unfortunately for Chris Brown, their opinion of him—not so hot.

One of the writers at PostBourgie is very fond of his hometown Houston and its ability to elect a gay mayor to the city’s highest ranks. While the Harris County (virtually all of Houston) gave the majority of their vote to Barack Obama in 2008 (by a slim margin nonetheless), being a Texan, I don’t necessarily agree that the city is as progressive as it is being made out to be. But still as a Texan, I couldn’t be happier that Houston is the first major city to do something so progressive.

Over the Weekend: Pam Real Thai Restaurant

I did a couple of things with my weekend hiatus. Of course, I put in some work, played some poker, watched every game I could find, went out to two dinners and saw that George Clooney movie, “Up in the Air.” But the highlight of the weekend had to be one of my dinners—a fact that only proves why your boy has put on several pounds over the past few months.

So where was the dinner at? None other than Pam Real Thai, located at 402. W. 47th Street, New York, NY 10019. I mentioned this in last week’s OTW post, because I had been there last weekend. But I couldn’t resist going back, because this place just happens to have the best Thai food in all of New York City.

I’ll be the first to admit that I’m not the biggest “Thai food person” there is, but I have had more than my fair share of the cuisine—especially in the form of Thai Rice! I’ve had Thai food from Midtown’s “Topaz”, the East Side’s “Holy Basil,” Brooklyn’s “Sea,” and one of my favorites, Pongsri, also located in midtown. Still, none of those compare to the authenticity, flavor and diversity of the menu and dishes prepared at Pam Real Thai.

Before I get to the food, the atmosphere at this place was amazing. Pam Real Thai doesn’t come across as a big deal, because it isn’t. It’s ambiguously located in between avenues and is maybe a 1,000 square feet. But it wasn’t crowded and doesn’t look as if it ever has been—making it a really good “find” in a part of town where it’s hard to get a seat as soon as you walk in the door. Pam Real Thai is low-lit, with benches and chairs. It had a small little bar and an interesting “Eastern” décor. The other people there were generally in groups, ordering multiple dishes, chowing down and having engaging but non-disruptive conversations. This place is perfect for anybody looking for a place to eat late at night and in big groups, especially after catching a play or musical in midtown. The service was extremely pleasant, and I certainly couldn’t complain about the prices, because my guest and I were completely full for less than $25 combined.

While the food is complex and there are a variety of options to choose from, for some reason, the food seems so simple. I ordered Pad Prik Khing, which was beef sautéed with a curry paste and “long beans.” I also ordered another entrée, in part because I eat with my eyes now, and because I couldn’t come to a decision on just one dish. Thus, I also got a plate full of Pad Thai rice.

The Pad Prik Khing was unbelievable. While I had had the same thing the week before, the second time was a lot more enjoyable. Last week, it was way too spicy for me and I couldn’t take a bite of it without grasping for water and throwing plain white rice in my mouth to ease the pain. But as you can tell, the savory taste of the beef, coupled with the delectable curry paste was well worth the pain, because I ordered the same thing again this past weekend. However, this time around, my senses were much better prepared for the level of spiciness I was getting into, and I made it through most of dinner without having a dire need to drink all of the water in the building. Overall, I’d recommend the Pad Prik Khing to anyone who likes thinly sliced meat cooked flavorful sauces, because this was one of the best combinations I’ve ever had.

As for the Pad Thai rice—it was the best I’ve ever had! Seriously. I don’t say that often, and I have eaten more Pad Thai rice than Thai people. I’m not sure how to differentiate Pam Real Thai’s rice from everybody else’s because it is such a common dish, but there are two things that really stood out to me.

First, it wasn’t dry at all, in fact it was very most. Often times (and it is much more common with Chinese Fried Rice) Thai rice can be over cook, or undercooked, resulting in a very dry texture, making it hard to enjoy the flavor (if any) that is reminiscent of Thai Rice. But the Thai Rice I had at Pam Real Thai was anything but dry and was as moist and flavorful as any rice dish I have ever had.

Also, this Pam Real Thai did not skimp out on adding the essential elements to its Thai rice. I had beef in my rice, and there was plenty of it, and it was almost as tasty in the rice as it was with the Pad Prik Khing. Not to mention, I’m not a big “garnish” kind of guy, but when it comes to rice, garnishments are a must, because they can really add flavor to rice, something that has very little flavor on its own.

My accomplice at the restaurant had the vegetarian duck and raved about it. Being the carnivore that I am, I didn’t taste it, but it certainly smelled hella good. And if it was anything close to being on the level of the Thai rice and the Pad Prik Khing, then I’m sure neither the veggie duck nor anything else on Pam Real Thai’s restaurant is anything but delicious.

Side Note: My friend at prepares Topaz, but I beg to differ.

What does $2.25 get you in New York City?

What does $2.25 get you in New York City?

The first answer any New Yorker will give you is, “an expensive-ass subway ride.”

However, that train of thought should be amended slightly. For $2.25 you can get an expensive-ass subway ride delayed by leaves on the track.

Anyone who rides the subway enough times has been on a train delayed for some of the most asinine reasons known to man.




Bomb threats?

Okay, that last one isn’t asinine, but you get my point.

Are you ready for the MTA’s latest revelation?

Leaves can delay your subway ride significantly!

According to a New York Times article, “Leaves from broad-leaf trees like oaks, maples, hickories and poplars are coated with a substance called epicuticular wax, which account for their slippery texture.” So as if we didn’t already have plenty of reasons to be annoyed by the MTA’s many technological oversights (crowded trains, fettered schedules, door malfunctions, etc.), now the MTA system is susceptible to epicuticular?

In the words of ESPN’s Chris Carter: “Come on man!”

As if we don’t have enough issues with the train. Like why during rush hour are there trains running back to back, but the trains following them are running 20 minutes behind?

Or why is it that with the institution of a $2.25 fare there wasn’t some change in the way the bonus “fare” added to purchases of $8 or more wasn’t manipulated in a way so that I wouldn’t end up with 85-cents on subway card?

And why is that whenever I’m on the express train, it’s always waiting for a connecting train, but when I’m on the connecting train, the express train never waits for me?

So in spite of having to deal with all of that, I now have to add waiting for leaves to be picked up to the list of concerns during my use of the New York City Subway. One would think that after well over $30 billion worth of repairs and upgrades over the past two decades, the subway system would be one of the most futuristic, scientific modes of transportation there is in the world. Instead, it’s only advantage over the days of traveling to the city via horse and carriage is that I get there a little bit faster, and the smells on my route are from the homeless guy next to me instead of a horse’s ass.

Democrats Get Their Player Cards Revoked…Again

Democrats are unbelievable.

They are why I refuse to take part in American politics. Yes, I vote, because I feel stupid complaining about the system when I don’t do the little part that I can. But the whole cheerleading, fundraising, “evangelistic-like” approach to politics isn’t for me, especially when the party closest to my libertarian lifestyle chooses to be as weak as they possibly can.

Here the democrats are; in the wake of one of their most dominant points in American political history, with a controlling majority in both the House of Representatives and the Senate. And yet, on the one objective that Democrats can solely take responsibility for (health care), they cowardly hand over the one policy they can tout as strictly a democratic belief and fold into some stupid, self-serving policy that fails to accomplish anything whatsoever.

In case you’re not aware, and I don’t mean to insult anyone’s intelligence, last night, Senate democrats came to a tentative agreement to scrap the public option for a system in which Medicare would be extended to those aged 55 and older and would include a not-for-profit private insurance option overseen by the government for those not eligible for Medicare.

Wow! Now that’s reform!


Does Congress even realize what they are doing?

First of all, they’re not even allowing those aged 55 and older to get into Medicare for free. Those under the age of 65 would have to pay a premium, in addition to all kinds of other fees and loopholes they would have to go through or be excluded from, because let’s face it, Medicare isn’t really free.

Secondly, the government is essentially taking responsibility for the most expensive insurance clients (older people) and leaving the private insurance companies to do business with those who need healthcare the least. That ultimately is going to make the private insurance companies more profitable, no matter how many people sign up for these so-called “not for profit” insurance options.

I’m not a Democrat nor a Republican. And this latest incident, in all reality, is so foolish that it should make all Democrats ashamed to be affiliated with such a spineless party. The sad thing is that I could never be a Republican, which is making it that much harder to drag myself to the voting booth every other year.

But what options do we really have as liberals? The democrats won’t push their objectives, no matter how right they are. And the Republicans, who play the political game so well, are pushing objectives that are anything but in the best interests of people such as myself.

I don’t know what to do. If I were Larry David I would protest politics. Unfortunately, this isn’t Curb Your Enthusiasm, these are people’s lives at stake. I guess I will just have to continue living along the lines of the old axiom by voting for the lesser of two evils.

Here’s An Idea: Online Restaurant "Finder"

This is probably an idea that I’m going to regret sharing because it may have the potential to be a big money-maker either now or in the very near future; however, I’ll share it anyway.

There needs to be a restaurant “finder” for New York City, and perhaps for all major metropolitan areas throughout the United States.

Of course, I’m already aware of things like Menupages, Cityguide, Zagat and the like, but I don’t find any of those to be all that helpful when I am looking for something very specific to a particular taste or setting that I am interested in.

One of the great things about living in New York City is that there are so many fine restaurant options to choose from. However, the downside is that very rarely does any one person get to experience all of those splendid options, because many people don’t know where they are or if they exist.

This past weekend, I was interested in finding a nice, low-key, fashionable, low-lit, Thai restaurant, and I had to scour the internet, only to ultimately find an option that may or may not have been the kind of place I was looking for. I stumbled across a place called “Pam Real Thai” (47th Street between 9th & 10th avenues), which turned out to be just what I was looking for (except for the funky music they played in the background), but I was actually quite lucky to come across it in my search.

What would have been perfect in my quest for such a restaurant is a simple website where I could choose from a bevy of options, including location, crowd, trending qualities and (oh yeah) type of cuisine. After inputting my choices, a list of possible dining options could be generated right before me and I could simply choose the one that best fit what I was looking for.

Once again, I will reiterate, those other “review” sites aren’t what I’m talking about. With those sites, they don’t really list (or quantify) some of the details I’m interested in. Yes, Zagat has a list of about 100 restaurants it labels “trendy,” but trendy to whom? What kind of crowd goes? Is it crowded? Is it a bar and a restaurant or just sit-down place? What a 25-year old finds “trendy” isn’t the same thing a 45-year old finds “trendy.” So what exactly do they mean in using that term?

So for all of you developers out there (oh, how I know so many of you read my blog), how about we come up with a site like this? Bring me on as a consultant, and maybe we can make a little cash money off this venture.