Clothing rack with clothes pins hanging from ceiling in West Village apartment
The old hose to the right of the washing machine was used to drain all of the excess water into the kitchen sink.
In a West Village apartment cleanout in Manhattan, not unbearably far from my office in Ridgewood, Queens, I found an old clothes line with clothes still hanging, as if the resident had hung them up to dry and forgotten about them. I thought it was odd. But what I thought was odd was not merely that I found a clothes line with hanging clothes. What confused me was whereI found it: right smack dab in the center of the kitchen. After doing a bit of research, I learned that washing and drying clothes was not so unusual for someone who had grown up in the 1950s.
By the 1950s, the kitchen was not just for dining, but also as a multi-functional living space and center of family life. It was transformed from the place used to simply prepare food to a washing and drying center. Portable washing machines appeared in kitchens in the 1950s. Instead of washing clothes in a modern-day laundry room, people use these portable machines in less secluded places, like next to the stove, or adjacent to the kitchen table. The leftover water from the machines was drained into the kitchen sinks (notice the old dual porcelain sink in the photograph above).
But despite the new presence of the washing machine, people still needed a place to dry off their clothes after they dunked them in soapy suds. And so came the clothes rack — a place to hang wet clothes to dry. The clothes rack hung from the kitchen ceiling, and the clean clothes were pinched to the rack with clothes pins, allowing them to hang unfolded with open air on either side.
DiMola Bros was hired to clean out the West Village apartment in Manhattan and remove all furniture, and contents from the closets and cabinets. We also had to remove all pictures from the walls. Once we made it to the kitchen, we found the clothes rack and, well, I had to have it. Attached were the original clothes pins that had been used with it. The pins are made out of wood and have a metal spring in the center. I took every last part of the rack, with the exception of the lime green gym shorts and red tank top that were hanging from the wires. I would imagine the clothes were able to dry quite quickly, given the amount of cooking that probably went on in the kitchen. All I know is, I use so much garlic in my cooking, that if these clothes were hanging in my kitchen, they’d stink for a week!
The clothing rack now hangs from the ceiling above the door to my office. This was shot pointing directly up toward the ceiling.
DiMola Bros Rubbish Removal
1640 Summerfield St.
Ridgewood, NY 11385
NGDimola@aol.com / http://dimolabros.com