You'd never know it from the nondescript Chinatown facade, but Hop Sing Laundromat is a month from opening* at 1029 Race St. (In fact, even when it does open, you'll probably never know it from the street, as the entrance will be shrouded by a gate and there will be no sign.)
I got a peek last week from the operator, a charismatic but slightly mysterious fellow named Lêe, who is dribbling out information better than any publicist could.
You already may know about the foyer, whose floor is covered in thousands of pennies and will feature a regulation shoe-shine stand. You already may know about his plan to bring in food from five local restaurants, rather than sweat out the details of a kitchen. (Brilliant, by the way.)
Shelves are filling up with antique books. This week, the furniture is due to arrive. No plush banquettes here but beautifully carved antique chairs.
Lêe says he plans to issue three kinds of guest cards, each embossed with a unique serial number. The white one will get you the highest level of VIP treatment, followed by the gray card. Lêe would not let on the purpose of the gold card.
* It will open by Oct. 31, Lê insists.