Throwing Up Absurd On The Mean Streets (2008)

the top 10 places to puke your guts out in new york city

Pukey since childhood (a vigorous ice cream and pizza overeater, I routinely threw up on the dinner table, on waiters, in the backseat of my dad's Saab, in my little brother's lap), and also scared of puking (every time I have to, still, death always feels preferable), my recent bad experiences (barfing into my own $300 leather purse while zooming over the Brooklyn Bridge in a cab; striding full speed across spacious Time Café in order to hork my eggs Benedict in the toilet, and not making it) inspire this list of convenient safe spaces lacking shame-inducing surveillance. Let's face it, Starbucks and McDonald's are not that reliable, and some bars make you buy a shot before using the rest rooms (expedient, but fuckin' gross if you're already sick). Go to it!

1. Trump International Hotel & Tower, 1 Central Park West

My friend had that kind of explosive diarrhea that doesn't wait for anything. Starbucks' bathroom out of order, decorum abandoned, she ran into the tony Trump Hotel, where the doormen were polite and solicitous, never daring to assume she wasn't a rich guest, as they directed her to the ladies' room. Substitute "barfing" for "diarrhea" and you've got the city's best heave locale (especially if you've been hanging out in Central Park eating hot dogs, binge drinking, or doing drugs—and especially if you hate the Don).

2. Housing Works Used Book Café, 126 Crosby Street

Lots of people come in off the street to this dim and roomy used bookstore's two ground- level, easy-to-locate, single-stall bathrooms. Nobody notices or cares. Plus, the nonprofit is associated with a free needle exchange, so people are shooting up in there (cleanly!) anyway. Good books and records to boot (no pun intended). Less than one block from the F train.

3. Pink Pony, 176 Ludlow Street

"Accommodating all around," observes a hard-drinking Nebraskan girlfriend of this café surrounded by bars from which you may need to momentarily escape for a heave. It's so busy there on weekend nights that it's easy to slip in and make like you're a customer in line for the cozy, private rest room. Additional benefits: a particularly sobering mirror ("a nightmare for some, but for those who are comforted by knowing the truth, it can be a relief") and a menu serving peppermint tea.

4. Fez, 380 Lafayette Street

Reports one underground electro scenemaker, who shall go unnamed: "They make the drinks sooooo superstrong. . . . I've passed out twice. So has Derek of Scissor Sisters. My ex-boyfriend threw up in the urinals, which are filled with ice. My best friend has also thrown up there as well. Plus there's that disgusting party there, Rehab, which is vomitous." Plus it's really dark. 'Nuff said.

5. Siberia, 356 1/2 West 40th Street

In this nefarious dive bar, there are bathrooms both upstairs and downstairs, so if one set is unavailable, you can run very quickly to the other. The stairs would work out fine if you couldn't hold it. There are lots of nooks and crannies, too. And the bathrooms are fairly vile, so you won't feel guilty about barfing all over them (someone I know once fully shat on—not in—the toilet seat). One regular says, "Barfing just seems appropriate there because of the atmosphere—scuzzy clientele [himself included, natch], and the emphasis on getting rilly drunk."

6. Kmart Astor Place, 770 Broadway

The rest rooms are one flight up on the escalator, and no one—I repeat, no one—is going to bother you. The stalls are only medium gross. Agreeable hours: open until 10 p.m. every day.

7. Lakeside Lounge, 162 Avenue B

Besides wanting to barf when you spy Drew Barrymore and some Stroke, Lakeside is a good bet. If the private bathrooms are unavailable, stagger into the photo booth, pull the curtain, and vomit in there. When you come out there are a variety of other things you can pretend you were doing. If you were really fun you'd pay for the pictures anyway and record the grodiness.

8. Mars Bar, 25 East 1st Street

Smells like puke anyway. Forget the lavatory and just kind of point your head downward, facing away from the bar.

9. Bryant Park, 40th to 42nd Street, between Fifth and Sixth avenues

Advantageous location proximate to upchucky Times Square, many shrubs; possible to lay supine in the grass in this historic open space and look like you're just sort of napping. Also possible—if you regurgitate during the day—to then run up the stone steps of the adjacent New York Public Library and clean up there (of course, you could puke at the library anyway, but it's kind of solemn). And you can always use the regular park rest rooms, voted "Best in America" by Citysearch users last year.

10. Free museums provide refined spew spots.

The American Museum of Natural History (Central Park West at 79th Street) suggests an admission, but they're not strict; accessible others charging zero include the Whitney Museum of American Art at Altria, suitably close to Grand Central (120 Park Avenue), and the New York City Police Museum all the way downtown (100 Old Slip). You just know you want to disgorge there.


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