Laundromat becomes local hotspot in darkened region
By Denise Coffey - Staff Writer
Brooklyn - posted Tue., Sep. 6, 2011
Laura Malboeuf hadn’t stopped working for a second since arriving for her afternoon shift at KB Laundry on Sept. 1. The Brooklyn laundromat's tiny parking lot on South Main Street was crammed with cars. The back lot was filled, too. As one of the only laundromats to get power soon after tropical storm Irene moved through the area last week, word that it was open spread through the community. Soon, a steady stream of customers was bringing in load after load of whites, darks and delicates.
“We've been slammed,” Malboeuf said. KB was short on quarters, and they were running through their laundry supplies at a fast clip. The 21 washing machines, from single top-loaders to the giant Wascomat W185ES, were all busy. So were the 27 dryers. Malboeuf moved down a row of machines, wiping them down and checking them for leftover clothes or socks stuck to the insides. She helped customers get their dryers to work. She carried out a load of clean laundry for an elderly woman. She swept the floor.
“I don't know where people are parking,” she said with a laugh. “You can't get your car in there.”
Jean and David Cranton came all the way from Sterling to do three loads of laundry. And while Cranton wasn't happy with the situation, she was happy to have clean clothes. “If it had been me,” her husband David said, “it would have been one load.”
Sterling had been one of the hardest-hit communities in the Quiet Corner, with 99 percent of CL&P customers without power since Aug. 28. Restoration projections hadn't even been made on Sept. 1.
“We need to put it in perspective,” Cranton said. “We're really lucky. As disconcerting, as frustrating as it is, it wasn't Katrina. We're not watching people die in front of us. We have homes.” She had overheard someone complaining about not taking a shower for days. Some of our soldiers in Afghanistan and Iraq are going months without showers. “It should make us appreciate that,” she said.