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The Manhattan

Original Name: Manhattan Laundry
Year Of Construction: 1936
Address: 1328 Florida Ave. NW Washington, D.C. 20009
Architect(s): 1936, A. M. Pringle & Bedford Brown IV; 1986 rehab., KressCox. Assoc.
Current Status: Commercial
Original Use: Industrial & Manufacturing

What a sophisticated building for a laundry and dry cleaning establishment! The casement windows seem to float in a glass brick curtain wall skin. Solid portions of the facade are embellished with enameled metal panels featuring water lilies in green and yellow (an Art Nouveau touch) while a Greek key motif graces the entrance. Even the interior offices were built with glass blocks to create what has been called “floating walls of light.” After many years of abandonment, this building was renovated in 1986 for commercial use. When these photographs were taken in 1999, it was the site of the first Art-O-Matic exhibition (now called Artomatic), a show of community artists that is presented at a different site every year, though never again in a laundry.