Last night, on my way home from work, I found a battalion's worth of fire trucks on 1st Avenue between 87th and 88th Streets. Frequent readers of my infrequent postings will recall that this past summer I came home to find fire trucks one block south, putting out a fire in one of the apartment buildings. This time, they were one block closer to mine, and the fire in question, while apparently minor, happened in the building where my regular drop-off laundry is located. When I walked by at 7 PM, the laundromat was still open despite the presence of several firemen, a little smoke, and some fire hoses. But the lady behind the counter said my clothes weren't ready yet, and could I come back at 7:30? I said that was fine and went home to find that I had no cable TV or Internet. Great.
At 7:30 I went back out to the laundromat. By now FDNY was running water through some internal vent in the building, and showering the sidewalk in front with the runoff. When I looked in the laundromat, one of the firemen said "no one's in there" and I could see why: there were several inches of water on the floor and running out the door. I waited around until 8 PM but there was no sign that anyone was going to reappear to mind the store and give me my laundry. At that point I'd have accepted it in any condition, including "sopping wet." I eventually gave up and went home to call Time Warner and learned that they had a service problem over several blocks, including my own. I was able to sponge off a neighbor's DSL line for the evening (I know, God forbid I should go without Internet access!) but I didn't get to watch Monday Night Football or any of my recorded shows from the weekend. I did get some practicing done, however, so the lack of other entertainment options had at least one benefit.
This morning I left early, as I'm in a training class for VMWare the rest of the week. At 8 AM the laundromat wasn't open yet, and I was in a hurry anyway. But when I went by there at 5:30 PM, the shutters were still down and there was a sign in the window reading "closed for a few days -- cleaning store." So now they're holding my laundry hostage while they clean up the mess. It didn't even look that bad in there. Maybe tomorrow I can catch them while they're cleaning up the place. On the other hand, a few years ago one of the Chinese restaurants down the street had a fire and closed down, but left a sign on the door that said "we be open soon." That was in 2004 and I'm STILL waiting for them to reopen. I wonder if I have any legal options if the laundromat never reopens and lets me collect my laundry?
At least my cable TV and Internet were back when I got home tonight.