Map Quest: The Restrooms of Central Park Southwest

I should probably mention that I've been cross-referencing different sources to figure out which restrooms to scope out in the city. There's Nyrestroom.com, Thebathroomdiaries.com, and, for this week's big bathroom occasion, I used Centralparknyc.org, the official website of Central Park, to find out where among the undulating hills and homeless people we could find nature's biggest relief. The site listed 20 restrooms in 843 acres, including those in restaurants and recreational facilities. Not bad -- except, in part, they lied.

1. Central Park's Only Official Restroom Restroom (sort of): Plain Jane

Map Quest: The Restrooms of Central Park Southwest

I had luck in the beginning. The only public restroom on the map that's listed as strictly a bathroom was easy to find entering from Columbus Circle. It wasn't terrifying, either -- spacious, well-stocked, clean floors. A bit muggy, but the pleasantly framed photograph of Central Park in springtime softened my woes. But it was only the beginning.

2. Cop Cot: Oh, Rugged One

Map Quest: The Restrooms of Central Park Southwest

For some reason, this rustic Central Park attraction is marked on the map as a restroom. I searched high and low on the crest of this hill where the wooden structure lay, but this was the closest thing I could find:

There's sure to be two cracks at this makeshift bathroom.
There's sure to be two cracks at this makeshift bathroom.

3. Heckscher Playground via The Carousel: Big Trickster

Map Quest: The Restrooms of Central Park Southwest

Cop Cot was not the only location for which the official Central Park map deceived me. Because the not-so-trusty guide marked the Carousel as a relief destination, I headed over to it and my mind started to race at the possibilities. What character this restroom must have as the restroom of a children's carny ride! However, upon my arrival, I was directed to a large structure on the south end of Heckscher Playground -- which is not even marked on the map -- a good softball field's distance away. Once I got there, I couldn't just walk straight up to the Women's entrance, because it was blocked off from my angle. I had to go all the way to the front of the building, through the corridor, and back around again. It looks just like the first one inside.

I promptly left the park, a tad frustrated with the loose guidance provided. Also, it was hot. When I got back to the office, I reviewed my not-so-reliable resource and found that I should have used this as a reference instead of the map. Oh, well. It's all about trial and error here at the Toilet Bowl.

[awerner@villagevoice.com]


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