Walking past Sunshine Laundromat, one might assume that unless they had a load of dirty laundry to do there would be no reason to wander inside. You would be mistaken.
As you pass a few classic pinball machines and go through the row of washing machines, you notice a strange stack of washing machines at the very back of the laundromat. Come closer and you realize that through those back washing machine doors, it’s not laundry that you see but another world. A world of pinball.
For years the Sunshine Laundromat was simply a local laundromat with an odd sense of humor. Signs outside read “Try our gourmet vegetarian washing machines and vegan dryers.” However when Peter Rose, a 42 year old lifelong New Yorker and pinball enthusiast, teamed up with the building owner’s son Michael Medovoy the business began to transform. Sharing a deep love for mechanical devices in general and pinball in particular (both men had managed to cram pinball machines into their respective dorm rooms in college) they began to fill the laundromat with classic pinball machines.
As pinball machines threatened to outnumber washing machines, Peter began working towards his lifelong dream of owning a proper pinball venue and the next phase of Sunshine Laundromat was begun. It began by transforming a 1000 square foot storage room into a working bar with a glassed in atrium. The next step was acquiring a beer and wine license. With their paperwork completed in early 2016 Sunshine became the only laundromat in New York City that can legally serve alcohol. Lastly and most importantly Peter, who maintains a collection of nearly 200 pinball machines (and services pinball machines around the city), chose which of his collection would go into the bar. He chose only the best. A pinball Valhalla was born.
Those who push through those mysterious laundromat doors at the back of Sunshine will find themselves eyed by a fortune-telling chimp and surrounded by over 23 pinball machines, each one a classic. As Peter has said the backroom is “a pinball place that serves beer, as opposed to a bar that has pinball.” Among the collection are some very rare machines including Safe Cracker and “Big Bang Bar” which sells on Ebay for around 20k. According to Francesco La Rocca, New York’s rep from the International Flipper Pinball Association, Sunshine has “all the top titles and great machines” and is “the best public venue around.”
A destination for any lover of pinball, even the bartenders are pinball pros. Bartender Alberto Santana is ranked 88th in the world by the International Flipper Pinball Association and is happy to share some advice on how to up your score. Upfront the washing machines and dryers still spin, as the laundromat still fully functions.
Know Before You Go
The Laundromat is open 7 a.m. to 2 a.m. but the pinball backroom doesn't open until 12 p.m. Saturday and Sunday or 5 p.m. Tuesday through Friday.