Public Bathrooms in New York City

One of the first things you learn upon arriving in New York City is that Starbucks contain the quasi-public bathrooms of this epicenter of Western civilization. There are two major reason for this:

  1. The city only provides one. (There are also about a dozen in the subway system, but they’re not recommended)
  2. There is a Starbucks on virtually every corner and they do not post “restrooms are for customers only” signs.

The “Starbucks law” will help you out a lot. However, if you find yourself in a pedestrian-heavy areas, you might find yourself in a ridiculously long line several times longer than the coffee line.

That’s where the New York City Public Toilet Map comes in… The preview on the site doesn’t show you too many examples, but it does mention the SoHo Apple Store. I’ve been in there at least a dozen times and never even realized it had a public bathroom.

I don’t own this map (yet), but happened to find myself in SoHo on Saturday, when it was packed by European tourists spending the formerly valuable currency known as the dollar. There was a line of about 20 at Starbucks on Spring Street by Lafayette Street. Fortunately I remembered that there’s a Bloomingdales around the corner with three sets of bathrooms. There was no line.

More background on the map

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