Farewell to a West Village Fixture

The Lees have had their laundry at 302 West 4th Street since 1983.  Prior to that, they operated further down West 4th Street, between Perry and Charles Streets.  Unfortunately, on Friday, July 31st, 2009, after more than 30 years in the neighborhood, the doors of their small neighborhood business will be forced to close.  We will miss them, and they will miss all their customers.  Because of this, I hope you will say goodbye to them, and tell them how they’ve been an important part of your neighborhood.

The Lees live simply, and did not have much more than their store to keep them whole.  So I hope you will consider giving them a goodbye card with a token of your appreciation enclosed.  Please understand that this is something that I am asking you for; the Lees would never do any such thing.  And for considering my request, I thank you.

If you are wondering why I care, allow me to explain: my name is Andrew Brust and I live at 308 West 4th Street, with my wife Lauren and my three small sons, Miles (pictured with the Lees, above), Sean and Aidan.  This is also the address where I grew up, since the age of six months, in 1966, with my parents Norman and Sallee, and my sisters Valerie and Jill.

I have grown up with the Lees.  They were there when I came home from high school and went to pick up my dad’s shirts.  They were there when I came home from college in Indiana.  They were there when I came in from the Upper West Side or Park Slope or Chelsea to visit my parents.  They were there when I moved back into the Village to an apartment on West 11th Street, where I lived for over 10 years.  The Lees became my down-the-block-neighbors again when my wife and I moved into the tenants’ apartment in my parents’ house.  And they’ve been there for my young sons as my family has grown, and after my parents have left the neighborhood.

I bet they’ve been there for you too.  Running a friendly mom-and-pop enterprise and providing dry cleaning and laundry service with prices well below what others in the neighbohood have charged.  And whether they’ve discussed with you various neighborhood happenings, or just the weather, they have always been reliable friends with an unfalteringly cheery disposition.  The neighborhood used to be full of such businesses.  Please let the Lees know how much you will miss theirs.



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4 responses to “Farewell to a West Village Fixture

  1. S Bearman

    Honest, decent, hard-working folks. With sadness we will all miss their laundry business and their presence.

  2. Jonathan

    With all this talk of bailouts, stimulus packages and breathing life back into the economy, it is businesses like these that are both the most needed and the most lost in these situations. We all have these memories and this story to tell and that’s a shame. Good luck Lees.

  3. thanks for posting this. very sad to see them gone. i just heard the news from one of my blog readers, and posted it here:


  4. I hate to continue to see so many mom-and-pop shops close…I appreciate your tribute to the Lees. Thanks.

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