I’ve recently been reading up on public toilets in New York City (hey, someone’s got to do it) and have uncovered, supposedly, the best public bathroom in New York City and the worst. And the funny thing about it is, they’re right next to each other! Kind of like a bathroom version of Goofus and Gallant.
According to this online article in Reuters, Virtual Tourist, an online travel website, named the public restroom in Bryant Park, not only the best in New York, but the best public bathroom in the world! There must be some high class porcelain thrones in there!
The flip side of this toilet tale can be found over at Atlantic Cities where writer Eric Jaffe has named the men’s room in the New York Public Library as the worst public toilet in New York City. Here’s a line from his article: “Where to begin with that men's room. For starters, it's in the most remote part of the building. That's great for the smell, which is potent by early afternoon, but it also means you're slightly out of breath from climbing the stairs to get there, and therefore inhaling more generous drags of this odor than you'd prefer.” Yikes, that sounds bad!
So today I thought we’d check out the best and the worst that New York City has to offer in public toilets. It’s an assignment that’s flush with possibilities!
It's a nice day, so I thought we'd just walk up there. Straight up Sixth to 41st Street and we're there.
And here we are at Bryant Park. It's a lovely day in the park.
Hello! Is the outside bar open?
It sure is! Friendly bartender, Romulo pours me a beer. He told me the bar was open all winter and he's working today as well. If you're in the area, stop by and say hi. Tell him I sent you and maybe you'll get a discount, or maybe he'll charge you double, who knows?
Alright, I've had a couple of beers, and I'm ready to go, in more ways than one. Time to test out the fabled public restrooms here at the park.
Here it is, the public restroom at Bryant Park. Is it me, or is it leaning a little bit to the right?
This building houses both the women and men's toilets.
Well, the front room certainly is nice, check out the fresh paint and the flower pot. Nice! It smells like a garden in here. The Men's room is to the right, let's go check it out.
As you can see, the urinals are very popular in here. Everything's very clean for a public restroom. Let's go check out a stall, I think I'm making some people nervous with my camera. I'm just glad that Larry Craig's not in here, that could be trouble!
Wow, this is the cleanest public toilet I've ever seen! If it was filled with beer, I'd be tempted to make like Marmaduke and drink out of it!
This is a nice feature, a button that automatically revolves the plastic on the toilet seat.
The sinks are just as spotless as the toilets and there's fresh cut flowers in here as well. Nice!
Usually I'm not a big hand dryer fan, I prefer a towel, but these things are amazing. It's like they have a jet engine in them and your hands are dry in seconds. This was a wonderful toilet time experience!
Okay, just around the block from Bryant Park is the New York Public Library, supposedly the home of the worst public toilet in New York City. Let's go see if this is true.
The revolving doors will lead us into the library.
Eric Jaffe wrote that it was in a remote part of the library and he was right. I had to walk up three flights of stairs, then zig-zag down multiple sets of hallways, got lost a number of times, had to ask directions twice and I finally found it.
At last, here it is.
Okay, time for the moment of truth. Whoa, I just got hit by a whiff of stink from this place! I wish I had a gas mask, I have a feeling it's not going to be pretty in here.
Unflushed and dirty! This is one bad looking urinal.
Oh my God! Check out the toilet in the stall. It's filthy, clogged up with toilet paper and it smells worse than Gary, Indiana after a bean eating contest.
The floor is filthy and I don't even want to know what that wet substance is. I feel like I'm going to get sick, but I don't even want to vomit in here.
The weirdest thing is that among the dirt, the stench, the filth and probably every germ know to man, there's a drinking fountain in here! I don't care if I was dying of thirst, I would not quench it in here!
And it's down into another toilet of sorts, the New York subway system.
Lovely. And now for the ratings!
Bryant Park Men’s Room Overall Ratings:
Smell—Flowery and fresh. Kind of like Snow White had just farted in there.
Ambiance—Nice, the fresh cut flowers are a wonderful touch.
Force of the flush—Forceful, but it’s automatic, which I guess is nice, but it kind of creeps me out.
Hand washing facilites—Clean sinks and hand dryers that are turbo-like and dry your hands in seconds.
TWM Toilet Rating: Four out of four Ty-D-Bol Men.
Summation: Excellent! A royal urination station if ever there was one!
New York Public Library Men’s Room Overall Ratings:
Smell—Pretty gross. Kind of a combination of a homeless wino who hasn’t bathed in seven years mixed with the smell of stagnant ass.
Ambiance—The hole that the Senator’s daughter was imprisoned in, in Silence of the Lambs. “It rubs the lotion on its skin or else it gets the hose again.”
Force of the flush—I wasn’t about to touch anything in there, much less the toilet flusher!
Hand washing facilites—Once again I didn’t use them, but there was a drinking fountain next to them that probably outputs rat piss if you try to take a drink.
TWM Toilet Rating: One out of four Ty-D-Bol Men
Summation: Bad! I wouldn’t take a dump in here with my worst enemy’s ass.
Further Reading: NYC Public Toilet Map, The Bathroom Diaries and Gothamist.