Home sweet … wash and dry?
This Queens man is living a coin-operated dream at this former laundromat, throwing shows and hosting bands where clean clothes were once folded.
“Something about the exhibitionism is comforting to me,” 27-year-old Sampson Dahl told The Post of living in this former Maspeth laundromat, whose footprint he rents as a home, where he often keeps the front door open so neighbors can drop by and light can come in. In his four years in the $1,850-a-month, 800-square-foot space, he’s also transformed it into a venue uniquely his own, with all matter of gifted and found objects adorning every surface.
“I’m just constantly finding little things to put on the wall,” he told creator Caleb Simpson in a viral tour of the sprawling, densely decorated front room, which serves as both a bedroom and, occasionally, a stage and salon for Dahl’s friends. Many of the accoutrements are acquired from Dahl’s job in set design. “You get a lot of props,” he told Simpson. There’s a set of movie theater chairs brought over by a neighbor — part of the tiered, conversation pit-like setup of the various seat offerings — his own paintings, a fire hydrant, a large laundromat sign on the side of his loft bed, a very narrow kitchen and a bathroom in the back. The stage location constantly changes during the numerous musicals, film clubs, painting nights, group songwriting sessions, plays and performance art he has hosted in the space.
Friends live in a rear unit behind him, and a family lives in the residential apartment above.
In his years living at the laundry, Dahl joked to Simpson, he hasn’t had a single customer — although on multiple occasions strangers have wandered in with laundry bags, fooled by the old awning.
It’s “New York’s most poorly run laundromat for sure,” Dahl said of his home. He does have an in-unit washer for personal use, though, as well as laundry lines for drying.
Before getting a lease to the laundromat, he lived in a bus, and before that a 3,000-square-foot Chicago warehouse he shared with about 12 others.
“I kind of get cabin fever a little bit,” he said of his aversion to normal apartments.
“In the spring of 2019, in an effort to both network with the city via sidewalk and give anyone who enters a moment to sit, some folks and I chipped in to rent out an old laundromat in Queens. It’s still happening,” Dahl wrote in a building bio on his website, adding to Simpson that, in the years since, his quirky home has become something of a community watering hole.
“New York is becoming, obviously, a harder place to modify your lifestyle,” he goes on, speaking to the eccentric existence he has dug out for himself. “Much like any other American city, it’s becoming a highly predictable place. But of course New York is the hardest place to control the populace, so people still find frivolous ways of existing.”
Ex-Brit turned Manhattan resident since 2008.