So I tried the first drain guy again -- the one whose mailbox was full and got him. I told him (nicely) that his mailbox was full and he actually seemed concerned and said something to the effect that he'd take care of it.
He said he can come today, between 3 pm and 6 pm and he called me twice with updates. He called me when he was parked and one block away.
Jay did an amazing job. Almost too amazing. He wanted me to observe and explained step by step the drain and sewage system of Manhattan ("Think of the sewer as the trunk of the tree and all the drains are the branches...")
I didn't think the bathroom sink was a problem, but he did snake that too. Then he snaked the bathtub, removed the hardware... and I learned that the overflow drain and the drain-drain are two separate drains. He was snaking away, pulling up disgusting gobs of that horrid hair, and then poured this stuff called Zap which cleans the pipes. He tested the drains three full times -- filled the tub, filled the sink, let the water run for about 10 minutes and it would go right down the drain.
At the end, he said he cleared three drains and charged me $150 which I was happy to pay -- really -- and he cleaned up after himself, everything back in place, the bathtub looks as clean as when he started -- well, probably cleaner.
Then he went to the kitchen ("Don't worry; I won't charge you") because he wanted to see if the kitchen sink was OK which it is. All in all, I would rate Jay an A+
Meanwhile, he is an Italian, raised in Little Itatly, married to an Israeli (who is really beautiful -- yes, there were phone pictures shown to me). His wife wanted to live in Little Italy so they still live there. I asked him for a restaurant recommendation and he said that honestly, there are no good mom and pop Italian restaurants left. Sad really.
He said the reason is that Mexicans do all the cooking (and nothing against Mexicans; they do all the cooking everywhere). He said, "If you brought an Italian from the old country, he'd spit the food on the floor." He said that the Mexicans just don't "have the taste that Mama had." And that makes sense. If you never tasted the real thing, how would you know you're doing it right?
I had also asked him how many messages he had, and he said 40. I said there is no shortage of work for people who are honest and do what they say they are going to do. I told him that I either have incredible luck with Craigslist or never get a response. He said that's because people run ads and then try to farm the work out and if they get no takers, they don't bother responding. That makes sense (well, except for the customers.)
If you have a slow drain in the New York metropolitan area, I would definitely and without reservation recommend Jay.
Next: My slow dryer.
PS: I just glanced at the title which reminded me -- when Jay called me he wanted to make sure I was home and I told him I was temporarily housebound. In each call, he offered to pick me up something ("Do you want a sandwich?") and then when he was leaving, he said that now that I have his number I should call him if I need anything -- and he made the point "Not just drains" because he is "always in the city."