Tuesday, March 23, 2021

A visit to First Avenue Laundry Center

Text and photos by Stacie Joy

Anne DeVita, the about-to-turn 87 years of age manager of First Avenue Laundry Center has a lot of friends and visitors dropping by while I am interviewing her. 

She’s been managing the laundromat at 33 First Ave. at Second Street for 39 years, and proudly mentions it will be 40 years on Memorial Day. 

She works seven days a week, arriving before 7 a.m. most days, and has no plans to retire.
Between making change for customers “I am the change machine!” she jokes when I ask her about quarters vs. tokens (quarters only), Anne tells me about growing up in the neighborhood, working as a barmaid at Club 17 on Avenue D and Third Street, and about the bar she used to work at on 14th Street that had “girls for sale for a dollar upstairs.”
Anne’s friend Joe drops by with some fried chicken “he gets it somewhere on Avenue C,” Anne tells me, and local artist Scooter LaForge shows up with a Payday candy bar (it’s Anne’s favorite, he confides).

People pull up a chair and chat in the back of the laundromat while I talk further with Anne. Everyone looks at me like I’m crazy when I ask if there’s a website or social media profile to link to.
Machines have old-school pricing, $2 for a small load, $3.50 for a medium, and $4.50 for the triple-loader, and dryers are 7 minutes for a quarter. 

Drop-off service is available and is $7 for the first 8 pounds, with a 50-cent increase for every additional pound. Hours are daily from 7 a.m. until 8 p.m., with the last wash at 6 p.m.


Edmund J. Dunn said...

Great article, so way beyond your typical "back in the day" story. This is neighborhood history that is now documented forever. Thanks Grieve.

Choresh Wald said...

This is great. Thanks Stacie! I missed "a visit to..."

Anonymous said...

god bless this fantastic woman and this dream of a laundromat! thank you for this!

Steph said...

This makes my heart feel things. I love Anne and consider myself lucky that she always knows me when I come into the laundry. She is a true neighborhood staple, love this interview and feature.

bunny man said...

What a gorgeous story. So honored to be Anne’s friend.

Anonymous said...

I'm so glad this laundromat is there. And to Anne I say: God bless you! and I hope you keep on keepin' on, because YOU are a big piece of what makes this a neighborhood!

And thank you, Stacie, for another wonderful "behind the scenes" visit to a great neighborhood business!

Sarah said...

Wow, this is profoundly old school. Thanks!

Jorge Clar said...

Wonderful article and photos!!! History in the making. Love Anne and her friends!!! Thank you!!!

Anonymous said...

Fried Chicken Place mentioned in article is BobWhite supper Counter on Ave C b/t 6th & 7th

the cadillac with the tiger in it guy said...

Annie is the real deal. A straight shooter with a heart of gold. I stopped by today and asked her Re: this article: when is the movie
coming out? ..To which she replied, "Don't push your luck!". We love her. She's always had our back!