Best Public Restroom


Most of us working New Yorkers have arrived at the bleak, almost Zen acceptance that when we leave our apartments at the beginning of the day, we likely won’t be back for another 10 to 12 hours. Books, laptops, lunches, sports equipment — it all comes with us. But the one essential thing we can’t bring along is our bathroom. If you’ve got to go around the Grand Central area, you’re in luck — no need to buy a superfluous beverage from a coffee chain just to use the amenities. The public restrooms at Bryant Park have been maintained to a nearly absurd standard of excellence ever since the 95-year-old building that houses the facilities underwent a $200,000 renovation in 2006. We know what you’re thinking: “A park restroom? Don’t those exist solely for shooting drugs and/or illicit hookups? Do they even have toilets?” Well, this one does — and how. The mosaic-tiled toilettes are clean (to say the very least), and consistently well-stocked with soap, paper towels — and fresh flowers in a large decorative copper vase. Ten-foot coffered ceilings feature handsome crown molding and cove lighting. And here’s the kicker: There’s a full-time attendant to tidy up, spray air freshener, and help keep the line in check. A separate alcove with a vanity ledge and mirror framed in cherrywood is convenient for touching up makeup and ensuring speedy sink turnover. Moms can rely on the sturdy baby-changing table (made out of bianco-verde marble imported from India). Lavish? You bet! The new design is modeled on the facilities at the Plaza and the Waldorf. It’s the most-used public restroom in any city park but no worse for wear. Former NYC Parks Commissioner Adrian Benepe called it the “gold standard for park comfort stations,” and we full-bladderedly agree.