Login + Register
This word makes me think of the people that I would encounter on my way to work when I was employed in Chelsea. Every morning I’d have to dance around the locals as they hosed down the sidewalk. I’ve never understood the purpose of this because to me the only thing that smells worse than sidewalk filth is damp sidewalk filth, but nonetheless this practice seems to be a time-tested tradition of New York City living.
I spent two weeks reading a 1968 dictionary and thought these were the most interesting E words. We chose elutriate which sent me to Marine Park, Brooklyn in search of laundrymats. What would you choose?
- To purify, separate, or remove (ore, for example) by washing, decanting, and settling.
- To wash away the lighter or finer particles of (soil, for example).
[Latin (from *elutrium, vat, bath, from Greek *elutrion; see elytron) or elutriare (from elutor, one who washes, from eluere, to wash out; see elute).]
- * The American HeritageÂ® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition. S.v. “elutriate.” Retrieved June 27 2007 from http://www.thefreedictionary.com/elutriate
Thinking about the word elutriate in its urban manifestation forces me to reflect in new ways about the awkward intimacy of cleaning our clothes in public. There is an old-fashioned, down-by-the-riverside quality of experience that comes with bringing your clothes to a public place in order to clean them. Some people relish the opportunity to talk to strangers while others turn deeply and painfully into themselves.
For the last week, I’ve been darting into laundry mats all over Brooklyn snapping pictures. Quick is the key word here, as for some reason not one storefront laundry owner has been even the slightest bit welcoming when it comes to taking pictures in their business. I am not sure if they are worried that I might be from the NYC Department of Health or if they are just camera shy. After one too many evictions, I decided to bring my ten year-old daughter along, and things began to proceed a bit more congenially.
See the map of this post from Smith Street.