Wednesday, August 27, 2008

"Restrooms Are For Patrons Only"

It's a sign that sends shivers up the spine of anyone experiencing a full-body clench. Despite being a world-class city New York has never adequately addressed the public bathroom problem. Namely, we don't have any. There is currently a plan to install comfort stations in various locations around Manhattan but optimism does not run high. So, as with the occasional restaurant recommendation I will also be making occasional bathroom recommendations. On the whole I find the latter way more important than the former. And, as with the restaurant recommendations these are facilities that I have, shall we say, personally availed myself of their hospitality.

I don't know about you but I always find it a bit dicey to walk into a bar or restaurant to use the bathroom without having eaten or imbibed there. I always feel like I'm getting the evil eye from the bartender or wait staff. In reality a lot of bars and restaurants don't care but a lot of others do. I prefer not to deal with the anxiety unless I absolutely have to. And that's why, when I need a bathroom, I head for a hotel.

Hotel bathrooms are the best. I find them to be exceptionally clean, rarely crowded and usually stocked with comfortable paper. And because people are always coming and going at hotels you will never feel like you don't belong even if you don't. As long as you're dressed nicely and look presentable you can relax and do your business, which is as it should be. In general, always look for the bathrooms on the lobby floor.

In the Times Square area I recommend:

The Marriot Marquis, 1535 Broadway (45th Street). Very upscale. Not only do they have great bathrooms on the lobby level every banquet level leading up to the lobby has bathrooms, too. If there's no banquet or seminar going on you can feel like you're in your own private rest room. The elevators go to the lobby level. Take the escalators to get to the lower floors.

The Millenium Broadway, 145 W. 44th Street (off Broadway). A very nice bathroom on the lobby floor.

Both of these are in the heart of Times Square. A little further north I recommend:

The Hilton Garden Inn, 790 Eighth Avenue (48th Street). I very nice but smallish bathroom on the lobby level off to the right past the snack shop.

A note on Starbucks...virtually every Starbucks has a bathroom that is open to the public but I find most of them on the unsanitary side. In a pinch, though, go for it.

I'll have more recommendations in the future. In the meantime if you have a place my readers should know about please comment on it here. Thanks!

1 comment:

fishsauce said...

Some very useful insights and pointers.
I too have found hotel bathrooms in most cases to be the best bet for finding a reliably tidy toilet when out in public. It's just getting to know where they are located in the hotel and purposely making your way there when nature calls. The largest and busiest hotels are best for purposes of blending in undetected as a non-guest by hotel staff, though I doubt that most staff members care very much if your intention is to simply relieve yourself in a civilized manner. On the other hand, you might expect to receive a frown if your primary motive is to find a secluded place in which to smoke copious amounts of hash hish and make off with all the free toilet paper you can carry.