Friday, January 11, 2008

New York Gets It Right, Finally

New Yorkers will know that a cardinal rule of getting around the city is that if you are somewhere with a restroom that you are allowed to use, like a restaurant, use it. There are few public restrooms except in places like Grand Central or Penn Station. Most of the time, restrooms are for patrons only at restaurants, so if you're just out and about you can be out of luck. Other civilized places like Paris and London have public restrooms, by New York doesn't. Until now.

Finally, the first in a planned series of public street-level restrooms has been installed and is, as far as I can tell, open for use. It costs 25 cents, and the New York Times has a review:

Indeed, the toilet calls to mind not a port-o-let, but rather the sort of room one imagines adjoined the personal quarters of Capt. James T. Kirk on the Starship Enterprise. It is a 25-cent journey to the future — and, almost secondarily, a not unpleasant restroom.

The restroom was unveiled on Thursday, the first of 20 planned for the city after more than 30 years of false starts and frustrations. It faces Madison Avenue just north of 23rd Street, and at first glance looks like a bus stop shelter.

Read it all.


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