Monday, August 31, 2020

Sun's Laundry closes after more than 60 years on 14th Street

A for-real end of an era at 626 E. 14th St., where Sun's Laundry has closed... several EVG readers told us that family members gathered here on Saturday to officially say goodbye to the business that Robert Lee opened with his father in this storefront between Avenue B and Avenue C in 1959...

In recent years Mr. Lee had reduced the business hours to two to three days a week as he contemplated retirement. The shop closed at the start of the COVID-19 PAUSE, and only recently reopened so patrons could retrieve any remaining items.

A nephew, Robert Gee, told Gothamist that the decision to close was made for the family with the COVID-19 crisis.

For Lee, 84, and his wife, Wai Hing Lee, 76, who works alongside him, commuting to the shop from their home in Elmhurst, Queens, was too big of a risk during the pandemic.

"With stay-at-home, there's no need for work clothes," said Gee. "And even earlier than that, the rise of business-casual attire in the workplace has had an impact on the Chinese laundry business because there’s less dry cleaning and less pressed blouses needed for work."

Building resident (since 1981) Carol Kostik told Gothamist: "It does feel like the end of an era with times changing in New York, but Mr. Lee has earned his retirement many times over, so we all wish him well."

Thank you to @NycAuntie for the photos!


Anonymous said...

Mr. Lee is one of the nicest people in this city. I grew up here and my parents used his shop for dry cleaning. I have many old memories of him and that place. It really is an end of an era.

Gojira said...

Such sadness for the neighborhood but happiness for Mr. and Mrs. Lee, may they enjoy their golden years and finally get some rest. They really were one of the last slices of old post-WWII NY left in the East Village, and dare I say it, the city.

Anonymous said...

To All,

Sadly my Uncle (who I was named after) Mr Robert Lee had passed away after be hospitalized for almost 2 months.

He was 87 years old and had just started to enjoy his retirement post Covid. He will have a brief memorial service on Thursday, March 7th, 2024 from 9:30 am to 11:45 am at 22 Mulberry Street New York, NY. Then he will be brought to Kensico Cemetery where he be laid to rest. May he rest in eternal heavenly peace.

Thank you all for your very nice comments.
Robert Gee

Grieve said...


We're very sorry to hear about your uncle. He was a kind and welcome presence in the neighborhood for many generations.

Our best to your family.

Bronwyn said...

My deepest condolences to you and your family Robert. Mr Lee was a true gentleman- a warm , kind, sweet man with a wonderful smile. He is a great loss to our neighborhood. May he rest in peace.