Best Of

Best Public Restroom


Figuratively speaking, the turd in the New York City punch bowl is our public restroom problem. (Just ask any Starbucks barista.) So it’s both strange and wonderful that the best public restroom happens to reside in perhaps the last locale you’d imagine: the Port Authority Bus Terminal, that most cringingly public of all places. Hear us out. It’s a known fact that despite the inclusion of a pretty excellent Heartland Brewery, two separate Au Bon Pains (Au Bons Pains?), and an entire bowling alley, nobody wants to spend one more second in the Port Authority than they absolutely have to. But stigma can be a blessing to nonbelievers, and this makes it a breeze to score those empty stalls when the going gets urgent. You’ll find four (four!) public restrooms, one on each level, all remarkably…passable, in terms of cleanliness. (This is a bus station, after all.) You’ll also find clearly posted “Rules and Regulations” in each, which helpfully clarify a lot of the essentials, as in no person shall “loiter, bathe, shave, launder clothes, drink alcoholic beverages, [or] solicit funds for any purpose.” Jarring, maybe, but that anyone has ever hung around long enough to do any of these things probably speaks to the not entirely awful state of the restrooms themselves. In the final analysis, it’s about what you won’t find: lines. Lines of restless, dead-eyed, wailing-kid-toting commuters that you’d find congesting, say, a certain nearby train station restroom — those are conspicuously absent here. We can only ponder why this might be, but we do know that a relatively empty public restroom in a town of 8 million deserves a medal. 625 Eighth Avenue, Manhattan 10018, 212-502-2200,

This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on October 13, 2015

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