The ‘Times’ Is Back on the Toilet Beat

Toilet
Photo: NYTimes.com

Like you, we go to the New York Times for the thoughtfully written and fastidiously reported coverage of the most important issues in New York and our world. Unlike other media outlets, the Times doesn't pander to popular tastes: It brings you news you should know, rather than news you want to know. Which is why we're pleased that the paper of record has added to its coverage of poverty and genocide another topic that has heretofore gone tragically undercovered: the public toilets of New York. Last week, the paper lingered over the details and craftsmanship of the city's new pay-per-use public toilets: "There are two architectural flourishes, both on the roof: a small pyramid of glass, like a little model of the Louvre, and an anachronistic metal stovepipe, reminiscent of a cozy shanty or an old outhouse with a crescent moon carved into the door," the paper mused, then went on to note: "But no one goes to a bathroom to look at it." And what a shame that is, someone must have decided, because over the weekend, two reporters traveled around the city to examine some of New York's older public toilets, and found that perhaps, some these facilities have been undervalued. Such as the bathroom in the New York Public Library:

Located in a small carved stone building, the restrooms have a large bouquet of sunflowers, Casablanca lilies and eucalyptus in a stone vase near the entrance. They smell beautiful.


The bathroom stalls in the women’s room are unusually wide, about eight inches wider than the usual economy-class stalls found in most public restrooms. A sign above a red button reads, “Push RED button for a new, clean toilet seat cover.” A push, and the cover appears.

And at the St. Regis:

The lighting fixtures are crystal and the faucets polished brass. A red flowering plant smells sweet. No one else is there.

Don't have time to visit these architectural wonders yourself? There's a slideshow of them on the. Times Website. Alas, it is not scent-enabled.

Less Hype, But At Least These Restrooms Are Free [NYT]