Updated 7:48 a.m. — I’d been a bit worried for awhile now about Hong Wah Laundromat sitting at 176 MacDougal Street between West 8th Street and the Park. In a city that increasingly only views entities as ‘prime real estate’ or nothing, at the behest of a mayor and landlords (ultimately this will be to NYC’s detriment), how can a laundromat survive… unless the landlord is a bit sympathetic? I walked by Hong Wah the other day and saw the windows papered over – as above. I then read on Yelp that the laundromat experienced a fire sometime in February it seems. I couldn’t find any information online but a little bit more digging uncovered that the fire happened sometime around midnight, it took the fire department over half an hour to get into the building, and apparently no one was injured. It seems like it was electrical in nature – but I do not have that confirmed. It makes me a little suspicious and I wonder if they will return. Hopefully, yes.
A note is on the door (love the door!) from a customer looking for their clothes (there is no signage from the laundromat about why they are closed):
Some of the history of the building and nearby 8th street when it overflowed with book stores (independent book stores later hurt by Barnes & Noble which, as we know, is no longer) and photo above from New York Daily Photo:
I’m very surprised that I can find nothing written online or offline about this exquisite little building at 176 MacDougal Street in the Village. It sits at the corner of MacDougal Street and MacDougal Alley (click here). It is unusual in that much of it is unattached on four sides, atypical of small buildings like this in Manhattan. Coupled with its white-painted exterior, the building has a very free feeling to it. The detailing and window boxes gives it a European, perhaps Parisian, flavor. The retail space has gone through a number of incarnations over the years; currently, it is a laundromat. At one time, there was a restaurant called Shakespeare’s here.
I wonder what Shakespeare’s restaurant was like. Apparently during the prohibition-era, this location was the site of a “tearoom” called The Jumble Shop. In the picture, you can see Gus’ Deli to the left of the building which succumbed when construction on Stumptown Coffee began.
When you attempt to look up and enter the address 176 MacDougal Street on Property Shark, 30 West 8th Street pops up, and, it, like much of 8th Street is owned by real estate firm Buchbinder & Warren under their ‘front’ company, Return to Home. 30 West 8th Street is the corner spot address, future home of Stumptown. (Note this Crain’s New York Business story on Stumptown Coffee coming to West 8th Street where the real estate company basically pat themselves on the back for finding themselves a good tenant while not acknowledging the connection between the two entities, the ‘landlord’ of the building and themselves. The reporter should have caught that but alas…)
I’m not sure how these addresses are connected. It seems like 176 MacDougal, 178 MacDougal and 30 West 8th are all part of the same Tax Lot according to the Department of Buildings. (I don’t know what any of that means. Anyone out there who does?)
A better picture of the laundromat when it was open from Yelp:
I love that there is a pay phone in front! I’ll update when I find out more.
Photos #1, 2, 3: Cathryn
Photo #4: Brian Dubé / New York Daily Photo
Photo # 5: Tin L. via Yelp