People need to pee.

This is one of those basic facts of life.

You drink lots of:






Yes, you do.

And you're going to have to pee. And you're in New York City.

And if you don't know what you're doing, you're going to be in trouble.

NYC is a little different than most places you usually get stuck doing the my crotch hurts hop. First off: there aren't that many gas stations to pull into, sheepishly demand the key and hop in like you're a paying customer and everything is alright. True, there are gas stations. We need petrol too, but they're not going to give you that key unless you have a car, or a very sweet face. Second: public bathrooms are very few and far between. A few parks, yes. On the streets like in Paris? ...Hell no... In the subway?


So: what to do?

Well, here's your best bets:


Another very good place, although only in the midtown area:


Their bathrooms are much nicer and cleaner that what you'll find elsewhere - particularly in the subway, where, as a friend put it, "There are bathrooms that Dante himself would not enter."

They are also good places to rest and cool off (or warm up). The main thing is to act as if you belong there, and no one will ask whether you are actually a guest in the hotel - unless you look like a real bum. I have gone into the Plaza Hotel lobby, dressed in cutoffs and a t-shirt, and sat there for a half hour, reading a magazine.

I would like to add one more point to mr. nipple's excellent and accurate writeup. There is one more desperate last ditch place (best for a semi populated street) for a male (or a particularly exhibitionistic woman) to pee in New York. It requires extreme need, drunkenness or punk rock chops to pull off, but for me is a true badge of your New Yorkerness.

And it go a little something like this:
Walk up to a phone booth, pick up the receiver and have out your one Chester A. Arthur (that is the wedding tackle). Then whilst pretending to scream at your broker or your mom, pee. No one will call you on it except a cop because it is more or less too crazy of an act for anyone to acknowledge. There are no more full (superman changing booth) phone booths in New York and the newest ones are tiny and built for people who didn't get enough protein as a child, but the middle generation phones will let you have a decent amount of cover.

Watch for splashback. Watch for po po.

Remember that a ticket for public urination is worth 5 punk rock points and happy tinkling.
Being the pagan scum that I am, I chose to skip the Easter sunday mass and wandered down 71st Street torwards Central Park. Skirting around the Lennon memorial at the top of Strawberry Fields, I joined the trickle of people moving down the trail torwards the water.

uh oh-the 6 coffees I drank at Cafe Luxembourg were being rather insistant on leaving my bladder.

No problem, I'm inna park, I'll find a thirsty tree.

No such luck. There were people everywhere..playing with overpriced little dogs (purchased for the sole purpose of proving to strangers that no, they are not rapists or murderers, because we all know rapists and murderers are not allowed to own a $750 imported puppy from Rhodesia, or playing with overpriced children (purchased for the same reason)- you get the idea.

need to pee need to pee need to pee

So I hop-shuffle torwards the fountain area to the right of the pond..hundreds of fellow squishy humans milling about. Curious lack of signs..I follow the sound of a echoey saxophone down the stairs torwards the fountain..and what to I see?


I joyfully prance inside, my zipper magically sliding down, sweet release.

Hey, this is a pretty nice restroom for a park.

And it was. Spacious. Well lit. No lurking perverts. Even smelled nice.

Satisfied, I ambled out, complete with the knowledge that the next time I was near Central Park, I knew I had a place to pee.

Knowing is half the battle.

At least during their business hours, any Barnes and Noble location really is the way to go.1 They don't control entry to the store beyond having you check your bags, and then the whole place is at your disposal. There are often restrooms on every floor, and compared the shit-smeared loo of your average bar or McDonalds, the Barnes and Noble WC's, especially the ones on higher floors, are operating rooms. This means that the B&N stop is even an option for doing number two, or even number three, if number three ever presents itself as an emergency.2 In any case, you can even take reading material if that is your cup of tea.

Convenient Barnes and Noble locations are:

Union Square, north side
Astor Place
Fifth Ave and 18th street
Fifth Ave and 51st street
Broadway and 72nd
Broadway and 81st
many others...

Court Street two blocks north of Atlantic
Seventh Avenue and Sixth Street in Park Slope

Unfortunately, many NYC restroom emergencies present themselves at hours when Barnes and Noble is not open. If you are a guy looking to do number one, your best option in my opinion, is to unload on the street with the payphone technique described above, or simply find a secluded corner by a dumpster on a street (never an avenue!).3 If your act involves sitting, however, you are, in my opinion, in a lot more trouble.

In any case, I have to recommend against using any fast food places' restrooms. Homeless people and anyone looking for a place to shoot heroin have thought about this long before you. Once I made the mistake of ducking into the Union Square McDonalds, and what transpired still makes me shudder and dry heave: There were several people in line for the one restroom. We all just waited and waited. The woman at the head of the line eventually knocked on the door and an angry female voice inside said "What? I'm taking a shit in here, alright." Then her fat reeking form actually opened the door, leaned out while still butt ass naked, and said to the woman who had knocked "I'm taking a shit in here, ok? ooooh, I'm sick! Oooh..." Then she closed the door. About five minuted later she opened the door and exclaimed something before bolting out. Everyone ahead of me in line began running wildly for the exit, and when the stench reached me, I did as well.4

By the way, in New York City, vomitting is not considered an activity that has to take place in a restroom. Feel free to do this on the street, preferable projecting as far as possible for the amusement of onlookers. But please don't vomit on the subway.

1ha ha. Pun intended.
2If you don't think number three can be an emergency, you haven't seen how short the skirts can get in Manhattan on a really hot day in the summer. Yowza!
3Supposedly the penalty for public urination, for a first time offense, is a $50 fine.
4and remember, the hands that clean these restrooms then go on to assemble your mad cow burger.

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