The Public Bathrooms of the Lower East Side


Just one week after our first installment of The Toilet Bowl series, the finalists for America’s Best Restroom have been announced! For whatever reason, none of the four downtown bathrooms we covered made the cut, but two of the 10 are from New York: Bryant Park’s well-serviced public lavatory and the Muse Hotel’s individually customized “washrooms.” And while that organization treated themselves to the bourgiest of bathrooms, here at the Voice, we don’t discriminate. Today, we survey how the public restrooms of the Lower East Side fared, and let’s just say that the only things these restrooms customized were their scattered toilet paper arrangements.

1. William H. Seward Park Restroom: Friendliest

In high school, people always gave the “Friendliest” superlative to the [ugly] person that they’ll talk to in the hallways but won’t invite to their birthday party — the same goes for Seward Park’s public restroom. She tries, really. Surrounded by a colorful park and playground and attached to a community center, her star-studded facility is quite welcoming. She even has one of those fancy Xlerator hand dryers, and her TP stock was relatively sufficient. But — and there’s always a “but” with people like this — she’s a tad grimy, the floors were wet, and there was not a whole lot of, um, ventilation in there.

2. Little Flower Playground Restroom: Closeted

Well, actually, we wish our closet was this size, but it’s close quarters for the public restroom at this little playground. And it was rather, shall we say, queer, too. The door to the restroom led immediately to the door of the one stall in the women’s facility, which enclosed the one toilet, the one sink, and the one nearly empty roll of toilet paper.

3. East River Park Restrooms: The Outsider

Along the murky waters of the East River on the outskirts of Manhattan and tucked away under the creaky Williamsburg Bridge lie the mysterious bathrooms of the East River Park. This is a good one to go to if your duties require some privacy, and there’s plenty of TP for the whole family in these six spacious stalls. The rushing traffic of FDR Drive nearby drowns out any noise, too. A win for everyone.

Stay tuned for more installments from our embedded toilet bowl reporters who we are forcing to visit who are determinedly working their way through the city’s public bathrooms for the good of us all.