2006_04_bpbathroom.jpgGothamist loves stories about public bathrooms, so we got a kick out of today's NY Times feature on the two month, two-hundred grand restoration of Bryant Park's beautiful public bathroom. The bathroom, built in 1907, reopened today, and boy, does it sound amazing:

The Baths of Caracalla

it is not, but the new interior has grand 10-foot coffered ceilings, mosaic tiles, a crown molding of painted wood, illumination from brushed stainless-steel wall sconces, indirect cove lighting, a wainscoting of mosaic vines and flowers, mirrors framed in cherry wood and, yes, sinks and a baby-changing table capped with Bianco Verde marble from India.

Last year the bathroom, which is in the backyard of the New York Public Library, had 612,683 visitors and was used by 300 patrons an hour on peak afternoons. Studies have shown that about two-thirds of those using the bathroom are not park users.

We can totally imagine George Costanza barricading himself in there! And on behalf of Greg who runs Daddy Types, does that mean there are baby changing tables in both the men's and women's restrooms? And 300 patrons an hour is a lot, which is why there is an attendant and guard. The restoration was funded by the Bryant Park Restoration Corporation, not the Parks Department, but the Parks Commissioner Adrian Benepe did call the Bryant Park restroom an "inspiration" (he also added that the other busy parks potties are the Delacorte Theather one during Shakespeare in the Park months and the one in Battery Park). If anyone heads to the bathroom, let us know how the tiling and new detailing works - clearly, we'll have to head over to what is probably the nicest non-hotel public bathroom in the city.

The bathroom was named America's best bathroom by Citysearch users in 2002. Meg Hourihan called the bathroom a "five star, two thumbs up" experience. And the Department of Transportation recently showed off prototypes of the new public toilets, which are more sleek.