The Department of Tranportation revealed prototypes of the public toilets that are part of the $1 billion street furniture deal the city struck with outdoor company Cemusa last fall. While the papers are detailing the minutiae of doing your business in a this toilet (pay 25 cents for 15 minutes in the stainless steel and frosted glass water closet; door will open after 15 minutes), Gothamist wondered how this preview worked if you couldn't actually use the toilets. In fact, the NY Times had a quote from the American Institute of Architect's NYC executive director Frederic Bell, who thought it "elegant and functional":
"I saw it and I really wanted to use it. Whether you're sitting on a toilet or buying a newspaper, design matters."
And design matters when you're reading a newspaper on the toilet! The head of Cemusa Toulla Constantinou said, "Cemusa is committed to bringing New Yorkers the world-class street furniture they deserve." Um, street furniture that'll survive various forms of defacement and debasement? The DoT's press release, though, said that Grimshaw Architects's "distinctive design will enhance and enliven the streetscape while standing up to the rigors of sidewalk life in New York City," so we can only imagine the kind of focus groups and user testing they conducted. Overall, these toilets look beautiful, but we are skeptical how nice they'll look after one week. And we bet there will be lines outside of them.
There will be 20 public toilets; no word on where, but it seems like they'll be near parks. Add Your Own has a list of public bathrooms, the Privy Council is eagerly awaiting the public toilets and perhaps if you had a need to go card, you could make most any bathroom public. And in other DoT recent bathroom news, there was the discovery of the bomb shelter under the Brooklyn Bridge with the water drums that would be converted to commodes.