THE Forgotten NY camera (a Panasonic Lumix) was focused like a laser beam on the SE corner of Avenue A and East 13th Street a few Saturdays ago when I passed this entry in the Cafe Bene franchise (an alternative to Starbucks; not being a coffee drinker, I can’t vouch for the quality). No, I wasn’t trying to catch the gutter shed the taqueria had set up either.
I had noticed the faded sign on the upper left, Dry Cleaners Expert Tailoring. There is an identical sign on the 13th Street side. This qualifies as a ghost sign, since the business it advertised, Kim’s Laundromat & Cleaners, moved out sometime between 2014 and 2016, replaced by the coffee joint. I don’t know if it was illuminated from within or not.
Dry cleaning is not, so to speak, dry. Whatever is being cleaned is soaked in a water-free liquid solvent, tetrachloroethylene (perchloroethylene), known in the industry as “perc”, which is the most widely used solvent. It’s just that they’re not soaked in water, thus, “dry.” In older signs dry cleaning is also referred to as “French cleaning.”
You can see the laundromat in Street View if you set the timer prior to 2014.
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