Unless you subscribe to the Mayor Bloomberg School Of Holding It In, you've likely encountered some public urination crises. Peeing in New York is tough. Starbucks can be a pretty decent option, but can you hold it for 20 minutes waiting on line? Or what if it's one of those Starbucks that locks its bathroom randomly? Or what if Starbucks goes through with previous threats to eliminate their public bathroom policy entirely?
Thankfully, you have some hidden options: there are bathrooms in just about every park in NYC, there are apps to help sort your options, and there are websites wholly dedicated to creating an organized list of such places (it seems you have a lot of choices in the Garment District). Obviously bars are always pretty easy places to use for their facilities, but most of them aren't open during the day; hotels are often good as well, as long as you know how to avoid direct eye contact with any concierges and act like you belong there.
So over at Reddit, users who are highly invested in finding secret spots to pee around Manhattan have started compiling their own list. Some are highly concerned about their favorite spots getting blown up. "If bathroom traffic to these non-bathroom places goes up, you can bet the managers will notice," writes This-Color-Is-Blue. "And when bathroom-traffic rises, the percentage chance that someone will use their bathroom 'disrespectfully' also rises. And it only takes one person to fuck-up in there for them to restrict bathroom privileges for everyone." In addition, user Marklyon apparently is a precog: "Tomorrow, though, it will be on Gothamist. Monday, in the subway newspapers. In a week, the NYT Style Section."
But isn't the whole point to try to help out your fellow human being during a crisis? We've all experienced the agony of emergency bathroom needs—if lists like these can help even one person avoid a public incident, then we think it's worth ruining a spot or two. And realistically, people are lazy—they'll probably forget about a lot of these places. Here, have another beer.
Check out some of their favorite "secret" spots around Manhattan, plus a few of our trusty standbys mixed in.
- Union Square: Best Buy ("Really clean, no line, no one thinks there will be a bathroom in a store without food. Avoid the long lines in Trader Joes and Starbucks."); DSW ("Has a pretty clean public restroom. This is an especially good bet for dudes, since the clientele skews mostly female."); Barnes & Noble (a popular choice at any of their locations); Burlington Coat Factory ("First floor back corner behind the registers. Wonderful facilities."); Babies R Us ("wonderfully empty")
- Houston and Broadway: Crate and Barrel ("This bathroom sometimes has a couple dudes waiting but never more than 5 minutes. Conveniently located next to the Broadway/Lafeyette train stop.")
- Houston and Mercer: Angelica Film Center (Everyone can access the restrooms in the cafe area)
- SoHo: Bloomingdales ("Women's room: 2nd floor, on the right as you get off the escalator")
- 34th St/Herald Square: JC Penney at Manhattan Mall ("Downstairs, in the lingerie/underwear section. Never seen a line here.")
- NoMad: Ace Hotel ("29th Street between 5th and Broadway. Walk into the bar/lobby area make your first right and down the steps.")
- Midtown: Rockefeller Center ("The public restrooms are nice. Take a right at the Starbucks heading toward the Swarovski store and just walk as far back as you can."); Saks Fifth Avenue (Reportedly has a great ladies room)
- Times Square: The Marriott Marquis ("bathroom on the 8th floor."); Crown Plaza Hotel ("Very nice bathrooms, no staff really bother you, plus sometimes there are couches or stools if you need to wait for a little bit")
- 53rd Street And 6th Avenue: The Hilton Hotel ("There are restroom on the lobby level near the garage. You can also take the escalators up to the 2nd and 3rd floors for 2 other restrooms." "Has a flush like a jet engine!")
- Columbus Circle: Time Warner Center ("Holy shit (literally). Always clean, never seen a wait, they even have the fancy Dyson hand dryers."); Mandarin Oriental ("Enter on 60th Street—take elevator to lobby. Exit elevator, turn right, go down small hallway."); Trump Towers ("On Fifth Avenue, located on the lower level")
- Lexington between 59th and 60th Streets: Bloomingdale's ("AMAZING SCENTED HAND SOAP. plus there's a bathroom attendant. seriously.")
- Upper West Side: Barnes and Noble ("At 82nd and Broadway, on the third floor. Cleanest bathrooms I've seen at a B&N in the city.")
- Upper East Side: Barnes and Noble (At 86th Street/Lexington Avenue)