Tag Archives: Carroll Gardens

The Carroll Gardens cleaning curse

As any readers from the UK will probably know, there’s something known as ‘The Curse of OK!’ under which a remarkably large number of celebrity couples that open their homes to the cameras of the glossy magazine OK! suddenly find their marriage falling apart. Personally I reckon it’s more due to the fact that most celebrities have the sticking power of a poster affixed to a bedroom wall with nothing more than spit, but nonetheless the theory of the curse perpetuates.

Now I fear that a new curse has emerged, which peculiarly fixates only on dry cleaners in the Carroll Gardens area of Brooklyn. The Curse of A Brit Out Of Water, as we’ll arbitrarily call it, says that any laundry or dry cleaner that allows my shirts to pass over its threshhold will close down within a matter of weeks. First it happened to No 1 Dry Cleaners on Smith Street, and now Elegant Cleaners on Court Street will pull down its shutters for the final time at the end of the month after foolishly agreeing in a rash moment to clean my shirts.

Rumours that my shirts are so scruffy that most cleaners lose the will to stay in business are apparently wide of the mark. Both cleaners claim that their landlords doubled their rents and that they couldn’t afford to stay as a result, but whatever they say. they all know that it’s really down to the curse.

Now when I wander the streets of Carroll Gardens, I see laundry proprietors nervously watching me pass, silently willing me to keep walking past their store. Others begin frantically shuttering their properties as I approach, desperate to escape the eager clutches of the curse. There’s even a suggestion that they’re forming a community group to warn each other whenever they see me leave the apartment with a bunch of shirts in my clutches.

Sadly, I still haven’t managed to bring down Armando’s. But he can’t escape the curse for much longer, mark my words.

Flipping out

When I got to work this morning that I found out that it was Shrove Tuesday, and excitedly texted The Special One about plans for the evening. It was only when she questioned whether I really needed to make a display of religious deference that I realiszed that the tradition of Pancake Day isn’t exactly one that travels well beyond the UK’s borders.

Back in my childhood days, Pancake Day was always the cause of much excitement in our house. My sister and I would reluctantly eat whatever food was placed infront of us, each trying to save as much room as possible for the pancakes that we knew were coming.

And then once the main course was over, suddenly the kitchen was turned into an industrial scale pancake conveyor belt, creating paper thin crepes to be slathered in lemon juice and sugar. Not real lemon juice obviously, but Jif lemon juice (with added sodium metabisulphite) from a plastic yellow lemon-shaped squeezy bottle. I think I’ve rarely tasted anything so bitter in all my life, but when liberally applied onto thin eggy pancakes with plenty of sugar, nothing ever tasted so good.

One pancake was never enough, of course. Nor was two. Or even three, quite often. By the time we left the table, both of us practically had to be rolled to our bedrooms.

Needless to say, my attempt to bring a little bit of Pancake Day to this corner of Carroll Gardens was met with confusion by The Special One, The Youngest and The Eldest. All of them looked on with a mixture of apprehension and, let’s face it, disgust, as I mixed the eggs, flour and milk into a loose batter. But when I finally began flipping the pancakes, covering them in lemon and sugar, and folding them up into a roll, I think I began to win them over. The Youngest even demanded a second.

Which is a relief, given that I’d made enough batter to provide pancakes for half of Brooklyn.