Do you have a problem with public bathrooms? Well, hold on to your undies because New York City is known for having some horrifying options. Whether you’ve been stuck in traffic or wandering aimlessly around the city, finding this basic necessity can be a harrowing experience. The next time you get the urge to go, don’t panic. Travelers in Manhattan can rely on the following resources when in a pinch.
If you’ve got a couple of extra bucks in your pocket, travelers in Manhattan rental cars will have the best luck inside a coffee shop like Starbucks. Most baristas will hand over the lavatory key even if you don’t make a purchase, but don’t try your luck. Barnes & Noble is another retail option know for impeccable facilities, along with Bed, Bath & Beyond and Old Navy – both are located on 6th Avenue near 18th Street.
- Bryant Park
The park’s cleanest bathroom is located near the library on 42 street between 5th and 6th Avenues. This is because an attendant is always on duty during operating hours.
- Grand Central Station
The Grand Central washrooms are located downstairs, in the facilities food court. Travelers in the vicinity of 42nd Street and Park can always pop in here for immediate relief.
- Police Stations
The boys in blue are always happy to help out distressed travelers. Precinct locations are spread throughout the city, providing convenient options around every corner. Travelers in Manhattan rental cars can view a full listing of locations on the NYPD section of the NYC.gov website.
- Angelica Film Center
The cafe area of this cultural center is open to the public. Clean and tidy, travelers in Manhattan rental cars will find these toilets at Mercer and Houston.
- NYU Buildings
Any building with an NYU flag is fair game when you’re in dire need of a restroom. All of the buildings on campus, minus the dorms, offer public washroom facilities, including accessible options. You’ll stick out less if you can blend in as a student, but if you gotta go, you gotta go!
Hotels are a solid choice for needy travelers. Most offer public washrooms right in the lobby, and travelers in Manhattan rental cars will blend nicely with the hotel patrons. Top picks include the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel at 301 Park Avenue and the Marriot Marquis in Times Square. The Soho Grand Hotel is a popular choice in the Grand and West Broadway area, a neighborhood known for its shortage of public facilities.
High Tech Solutions
If you can’t bear the thought of being stranded without a suitable washroom option, don’t despair – the Internet is here to help! The web is littered with information on how to find toilets in NYC, thanks to comprehensive sites like nyrestroom.com, nyctoiletmap.com, and restroomratings.com. If you have an iPhone, download the Diaroogle app. It’s designed for the “discerning, on-the-go defector who is brave enough to use a public bathroom, but still demands a hygienic and private bathroom experience.” Travel a lot? Then download the SitOrSquat app. Developed by Proctor & Gamble, the makers of Charmin Toilet Paper, this app includes an up-to-date database of every public restroom in the country.
As of April 2009, there were roughly 666 park washrooms in the city, along with 78 subway bathrooms, and the always popular pay-per-use options in Herald Square. Compare that to Singapore, a city that has a land area nearly 200 square kilometers less than New York City, where travelers will find roughly 29,500 public washroom options. So what’s the deal? New York’s lack of suitable public toilets have been termed “among life’s eternal mysteries” by the New York Times, and three different administrations have failed to rectify the problem.
Travelers in Manhattan rental cars will have a little less trouble finding restroom options during the coming year. Turns out that Mayor Bloomberg finally signed a deal in 2010 which will see Cemusa install public pay-per-use toilets and new street “furniture” (think bus shelters) throughout the city.