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Blood, sweat, and urine
After the 100th Subscriber Special, Rat Report reader (and author of Night Water) Adam Cecil requested a review of public restrooms around the city. I visited (and used) a handful of wretched public restrooms around the city and realized just how many there were and how widely they varied in quality. The following review barely scratches the surface. I ranked them from 1 to 5 on several criteria to find the best one.
Greeley Square Park
This one looked nice but was closed. I vowed to return one day when it was open.
The reviews promised a no-nonsense bathroom experience without any bells and whistles.
Total Score: N/A
Well, it doesn’t look great. Let’s see what the reviews say.
This restroom is heavily-trafficked and seems to be a community gathering space of sorts, where pervs and hobos alike can gather and do their thing.
And Kevin just seems to be confused by the concept of a public restroom.
Scent Profile: Urine forward, dry, aged
Smell Score: 3 - Really smelled like aged urine but wasn’t unbearable.
Cleanliness Score: 3 - I mean look at it.
Privacy Score: 1 - full of pervs and hobos, and the stall doesn’t even latch.
Total Score: 2.5
East River Park
This restroom was the dirtiest and smelled the worst.
What type of “stuff” was going on when Matt tried using the restroom? I have no idea, but there was lots of blood in this one.
Scent profile: vomit-inducing, overwhelming urine with bathroom chemicals and feces-in-urinal, oaky
Smell Score: 1 - I was actually struggling not to gag.
Cleanliness Score: 1 - I’m not sure what the blood was from, but I’m imagining someone pouring whiskey on a gunshot wound and prying out a bullet.
Privacy Score: 4 - I had the place to myself, but in a disconcerting way.
Total Score: 2
Madison Square Park
The final restroom I investigated was unlike anything I had ever seen.
It’s a booth out on the sidewalk, and you have to pay an entrance fee of 25 cents like some kind of circus during the Great Depression. It also only accepts real, physical quarters as payment.
I haven’t possessed a real, physical quarter since I was a child, but luckily I was able to slip in as the last visitor was exiting. The inside was like the space shuttle of public restrooms. A shiny space-age toilet sat at one end, with a chrome sink and gleaming control panel fixed to the opposite wall.
Scent profile: Porta-Potty chemicals, fruity, light-bodied
Smell Score: 4
Cleanliness Score: 4
Privacy Score: 5
It was impeccably clean and smelled great (compared to the others), but something about paying to use the restroom just felt un-American to me.
I also noticed a problematic light on the control panel labeled “WHEN LIGHT IS ON, 3 MIN. TO OPEN DOOR.”
Could you imagine being mid-dump, and looking up to see that light on? You’d wonder how long the light had been on, and how much precious time you had before the door slides open, revealing you to all of Madison Avenue like a prize on a game show.
And for these reasons, despite its high smell, cleanliness, and privacy scores, this robot bathroom gets a total score of 2.
Therefore the winner, sadly, is the Union Square restroom, because it was terrible, but slightly less so than the others.
Do you know of any restrooms I should review? Leave a comment.
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