Sunshine Laundromat, Brooklyn, NYC

OK bear with me. I know what you’re thinking.

“A laundromat? On Arcade Blogger?”

Yes. A laundromat.

This peculiarity is located on America’s Eastern Seaboard. Wander down Manhattan Avenue, in Brooklyn NY, and you’ll see a typical urban scene. Shops, cars, apartment building and a sidewalk.

Manhattan Avenue in Brooklyn

Stop at number 800, and you’ll find a laundromat called Sunshine. An innocuous and unassuming store front that hides an amazing secret.

Sunshine Laundromat & Cleaners

If you arrive with a basket of clothes, you’ll be very happy. The washing machines and driers all work. For a few bucks, you can get your washing done. Brilliant!

Um. Washing machines! Yay!

Serving the 2.7 million residents of Brooklyn, The Sunshine laundromat is open 7 days a week, and does what it does. It is a clean and functional as a place to wash clothes.

But lurking at the back of the store is a secret:

A secret door….

Disguised as stacked washers, this door leads to a hidden paradise. Somewhere to pass the time while your smalls are going through their wash cycle.

Look closely. Is that a bar? And what is that lit up in the background?

At 2.00pm every day, the hidden door is unlocked. Walk through and you are greeted with a welcoming sight:

Holy cow. Pinball!
Sunshine bar
The bar at Sunshine Laundromat

As well as around 25 pinball machines (both classic and modern), a well stocked bar serves traditional and craft local beers.

80s pinball staples here. World Cup, Funhouse, Monster Bash and a Simpsons table in the foreground

Being located in the New York area, the quirky pinball area at the back of Sunshine Laundromat, is a reminder that things weren’t always this way.

The 1940’s abolition of slot machines, eventually swallowing up pinball, was a pet project of then New York mayor Fiorello la Guardia. Intended to be a shot to the bows of the mafia (who sited and profited from pinball machines), as well as removing what was deemed as a form of gambling within the city, pinball quickly disappeared from the streets of New York.

The early pinball games of the time were deemed to be a game of chance, and therefore a form a gambling. Dawn raids by the NYPD of bars and cafes were commonplace, and a very public demolition of pinball machines ensued. In fact many New York pinball machines were smashed up and dumped in the Hudson River.

Pinball Smashed
This is police commissioner Bill O’Brien taking a sledgehammer to a Cyclone pinball machine in 1949. This public display was intended to show that there would be a no tolerance policy towards the perceived ‘evils’ of pinball

It wasn’t until 1976, that the ban was lifted after pinball wizard Roger Sharpe showed a court that thanks to flippers and modern technology they were now entirely games of skill, and not of chance.

Roger Sharp
Roger Sharpe bringing pinball back to the masses

But back to Sunshine Laundromat. It is the brainchild of collector Peter Rose, himself owning over 200 machines. He regards the pins located at Sunshine as the cream of his collection. As more tables were added in the back room, a decision was made to convert a 1,000 square foot storage area into a functioning bar. It is now the only laundromat in New York City that can legally serve alcohol.

More great pins in this backroom

The lineup is constantly changing. Peter looks to place new releases on the premises to play – you can sample a regular rotation of new Stern releases, and currently even a Houdini table.

Here’s a recent walkthrough video posted on YouTube by the guys over at Arcade Hunters. Things look to have expanded somewhat, with more pinballs in the wash area too!

This is a quirky place no doubt. If you’re ever in the Brooklyn area, do checkout Sunshine Laundromat!

Thanks for reading this week.


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Many thanks to Dylan Thuras of Atlas Obscura for the pictures of Sunshine Laundromat.

5 Comments Add yours

  1. Faust says:

    We used to have some arcade machines in our local laundromats. Actually, one of the best Arcades I went to in my home town was a combo Luandromat/Arcade with a ton of games.

    But a laundromat with a secret washer/dryer door that opens into a bar/arcade!? That’s like heaven!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Tony says:

    Yeah, I hear the Laundromat/Arcade combo was definitely a “thing” in the US.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I spent lots of time (and quarters) playing Baby Pac-Man at the laundromat down the street.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. K∆Z says:

    Spectacular!! I would wish to visit that place someday, even if for just a fast play! I was thinking: can I pick some of the info. To make a based post in Portuguese? I’d love to talk about the historic events that happened with flippers in my blog – and your material is wonderful to read. If so I’ll be in a eternal debt with you 🙂


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