New York City, NY

A Stove Laundromat? New Yorkers Really Want One


Do you remember your dreams? If you do, explaining your dreams to other people might prove difficult. Often, a dream doesn't make much logical sense. If you describe the details of your dreams, your audience might seem impatient or bored.

But what if your dreams could be turned into something real? For example, what if you dreamed about a business idea? Or what if your dream taps into the collective unconscious of a shared past?

In the most recent episode of HBO's How To with John Wilson, the NYC filmmaker (John Wilson) turned one of his dreams into a reality. The dream went something like this: You walk into a laundromat, but instead of washers and dryers lining the walls, you find stoves.

That's right. Coin-operated electric stoves for cooking food. Signs on the wall read "DO NOT LEAVE MEALS UNATTENDED" and "HAVE YOU FORGOTTEN ANYTHING?" There's a neon sign in the window that says "STOVES." A group of young men walk up to the "STOVES" shop, and one of them tells John Wilson, "You a genius … I'm not the only one that dig it. A lot of people dig it."

Already coined a "stove laundromat" on Reddit, the idea actually appeals to a lot of New Yorkers. Unfortunately, it looks like the project was only temporary. It's also unclear if the "STOVES" shop was only an art installation, or if the stoves were functional.

Why would a stove laundromat appeal to New Yorkers? If you live here, you already know the answer. Many apartments lack full-size kitchens, let alone a fully operational stove. In a city always pressed for space, it makes sense that many residents could benefit from a communal resource like this.

Last week, New York City effectively banned natural gas in new buildings:

The new law sets restrictions on fossil fuel usage in newly constructed residential and commercial buildings by phasing in strict emissions limits beginning in 2023, bringing immediate climate and health benefits to New Yorkers at launch.

So it doesn't look like a gas stove laundromat would be allowed, but what about an electric one?

Perhaps John Wilson's dream wasn't so strange, after all. Did you know that community ovens are one of the oldest cross-cultural phenomena?

In practice, though, can you imagine sharing a stove laundromat with other New Yorkers? Going to a regular laundromat doesn't feel especially communal. Everyone fights for an open drum. No one wants to hang out, socialize.

Would a stove laundromat be different? On the one hand, people could share their food and make use of several stoves to execute elaborate meals. On the other hand, what if people are cooking foods that smell so strongly, the aromas overpower your own food?

Do New Yorkers really want a stove laundromat? Or does it sound like a nice dream?

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