We Experience Every Public Bathroom in New York City, So You Don’t Have to


Here at the Voice, we care about the state of the public spaces where we shit and piss. There are roughly 78 New York City public restrooms in Manhattan, and we want to know how well they’re kept up and stocked, which attract things that fly and crawl, the general culture surrounding them, and much more. We want to know. And share. Thus, the first installment of the Voice‘s very own Toilet Bowl series, in which we investigate, classify, and award New York City’s public restrooms. Ladies and Gentlemen, let’s get ready to rumble — but not from there.

Washington Square Park Public Bathrooms: The Pest

Hidden behind a dog park and heavy construction work, it’s clear that these public restrooms don’t get much attention — except from flies. Upon entering, we were greeted with a swarm of flying insects which we swatted at feverishly as we made our way to the toilet. Though there are plenty of actual stalls, not all the them were completely stocked, which was probably on account of most of the toilet paper being thrown about the bathroom. We wish we could swat the memory of this experience away.

Madison Square Park Toilet: Most Likely to Succeed

This public restroom has a lot of potential. It’s new(er), smells nice, looks shiny, and was fairly clean, as these things go (picture notwithstanding). However, we’ve seen lines here that echo those at the nearby Shake Shack, and there was no toilet paper there this morning. Bring your own if you’re in the neighborhood and plan on going.

Vesuvio Playground (at Spring & Thompson): Most Likely to Get You Arrested on Pedophile Charges

Oddly, parents all pulled their children closer as we walked by into the Girls’ Bathroom here. This might have had something to do with the fact that we were waving our camera phone in the air. Apparently, there’s this law where adults can’t enter a playground unless accompanied by a child. But! If you’re in SoHo and you gotta go — this may be your only option. Luckily, the bathroom is spacious and well stocked, albeit a little grimy. Just avoid the glares of suspicious parents on your way in.

Augustus St. Gardens Comfort Station (at 20th St and 2nd Ave): #1 Water Park

“Comfort” isn’t necessarily a positive appellation here. The playground includes a sprinkler that kids can play with, which trails into the so-called comfort station. But there is nothing comfortable about the indistinguishable puddles of this public bathroom. The parents of the playground were far more accepting of our childless status than those at Vesuvio, however, and informed us that the pizzeria across the street was a good option for those in need of bladder relief.

Stay tuned for more installments from our embedded toilet bowl reporters who we are forcing to visit are determinedly working their way through the city’s public bathrooms for the good of us all. Next up: Where to flush when you’re in a rush.