The concept behind the app is fairly simple: You’re walking, you realize you have to go, the line at Starbucks is down the block, you check Airpnp, and it points you in the direction of a nearby bathroom. There are some other details that, at this point, seem a bit sketchy — apparently you’re supposed to pay the person or business that posted the restroom on the app (but only if they ask you to?) — and, as of right now, there only appear to be fifteen New York City bathrooms listed on the app at all.
But none of this is the point. What’s important is that the good folks at New Orleans–based Airpnp are getting all of the credit for something that New York City’s own George Costanza developed years ago. And it earned him a fortune.
According to the Airpnp website, the app was created last year in order to help Mardi Gras revelers find legal alternatives to peeing in the streets. But that was 2014. Costanza, a figment of Seinfeld co-creator and Curb Your Enthusiasm star Larry David’s imagination, beat that by at least six years.
The story arc of season seven of Curb Your Enthusiasm centered around the development of a Seinfeld reunion that saw the entire cast of the show return. Actual new Seinfeld plot points were discussed (and even filmed) throughout the season. George’s story involved his having made millions of dollars through the invention of the iToilet — apparently, the Airpnp of the late Aughts. Unfortunately for George, he invested most of his fortune with Bernie Madoff and was left with nothing when Madoff met his demise.
The iToilet episode of Curb originally aired on November 22, 2009. Madoff was arrested in December 2008. He was still chairman of Bernard L. Madoff Investment Securities LLC when he was arrested, which obviously means that George would have to have invested his money at some point prior to that. The first-generation iPhone debuted in June 2007, which means George would have developed the iToilet, made his millions, invested it all, and lost it in just over a year.
But all of this is simply to say that by the time Mardi Gras 2014 rolled around, bathroom-finding apps were old news. George Costanza (and, well, Larry David) is still waiting for his h/t, Airpnp.