Tocadors all around! With the Department of Transportation working out the final details of a contract with Spanish outdoor firm, Cemusa, most of the interest in the $1 billion is surrounding the 20 public toilets that will be included amongst the newspaper kiosks and bus shelters. The NY Times details the long, mostly unsuccessful history of trying to bring public toilets to the city (lots of lawsuits). When looks at our archives, there was an initiative to bring 20 public restrooms to the streets back in 2003 (and this is where Newsday thought more were needed), it that probably fell through, and the most ballyhooed public bathrooms in the recent memory are the ones at the Times Square subway station! Perhaps this is because there are so many places to go, like the Barnes and Noble or Starbucks, or even the Gap, if you plead and do the tinkle dance.
The Daily News says that Cemusa's overseas toilets "come equipped with a tiny sink for washing up and timers that regulate how long users can tend to their business. Afterward, the toilets automatically clean up with disinfectant spray." One facet Gothamist would love love love to include: A meter on the outside that indicates whether the toilet is really stinky. And might we also suggest Cemusa and Nicholas Grimshaw and Partners (the designers) consider the clear public toilets in Switzerland?