It always feels like public restrooms are nowhere to be found when the need is pressing. But when you're sightseeing in New York City, the toilet scarcity is not in your imagination.
One of the city's, yes, dirty little secrets is that businesses like Starbucks and Dunkin' Donuts that offer public bathrooms in other parts of the country often don't have that amenity in Manhattan. Commercial spaces are so pricey in New York that corporate franchisees frequently opt for smaller spaces that don't have room for restrooms set aside for customers.
That can lead to emergency situations for tourists.
So thank goodness for a very helpful new interactive online map called New York Restrooms.
Created by public-spirited urban planner Dr. Wansoo Im, the color-coded tool helps users find the nearest Manhattan toilet and shows what kind of environment the bathrooms are in—parks, coffee shops, bookstores, hotels, fast food restaurants, and so on.
Dr. Im includes business names, addresses, accessibility info for those with disabilities, and, most important, hours of operation.
To improve the map, members of the public are invited to share tips for other availalbe facilities beyond those already identified.
[Hat tip to travel blog Your Mileage May Vary for bringing this lifesaver to our attention.]