Skip to comments.Greetings, Earthlings. Your New Restroom Is Ready.
Posted on 01/11/2008 9:46:03 AM PST by GovernmentShrinker
When New York Citys open-armed embrace of tourists finally extends beyond the boundaries of Earth to creatures from outer space, these visitors will find themselves right at home in Madison Square Parks sleek, shiny new public toilet.
Indeed, the toilet calls to mind not a port-o-let, but rather the sort of room one imagines adjoined the personal quarters of Capt. James T. Kirk on the Starship Enterprise.
(Excerpt) Read more at nytimes.com ...
For those unfamiliar with the saga, this outlandish public toilet is the result of the combination of anti-discrimination laws that don't let businesses pick and choose what sort of non-customers may use their restrooms, and don't let police use common sense in forcibly removing people from public facilities that they are using for unintended purposes (think 2 guys in a public restroom stall), and disability rights laws that prohibit the city from providing any facilities that aren't wheelchair-accessible. NYC's citizens and business/tourism lobby have been actively pushing for public toilets for a couple of decades, but the need to comply with all sorts of idiotic laws kept killing off one proposal after another. Finally they've crafted one that meets all the requirements. I'm not sure which will bring about its demise first, angry environmentalists or perpetual malfunctions due to its ludicrous level of complex automation.
Will junkies still be able to shoot up in it?
Will the homos still use it for their toe-tappery?
Why isn't that illegal? Didn't some congresscritter just get busted for sliding his foot into the adjacent stall?
14 gallons per use....!? flutter flutter ....”oh my!”
If they set it to recycle the wash water, and dispose of the waste water, then make it a pay toilet, bet it would defray some of the cost. Seems silly for a tourist to expect city-provided facilities as a freebie. Walk into a restaurant, buy a cup of coffee and a sandwich, use the can, leave.
Do they have a “wide stance” model?
"What follows is possibly the longest and most awkward 20 to 30 seconds of a persons day. The door slips open like an elevator, but then it stays open, to accommodate those who need extra time getting in. Meanwhile, men and women in suits walk past. It is very difficult to look inconspicuous in a bathroom on a sidewalk in New York with the door open. There is just nothing to do but stand there. And the delay will not please those who are in distress."
Yep. And I don’t see what will stop 2 guys from doing their thing either, or female prostitutes from using it as a base of operations. 15 minutes is plenty of time for that, and the 25 cent charge will hardly be a deterrent (nor will it come close to covering the cost of purchasing and maintaining this crazy contraption).
Theoretically, the whole room will be disinfected before the next person can use it. I can’t wait to hear how long it takes for the drain to get clogged with discarded syringes, condoms, and sanitary pads. There a limit to what even a 14 gallon automatic room cleaning can push down a drain.
I suspect it will have a brief life, mainly as a tourist attraction to be gawked at in amazement. I’m sure there are already tourists lined up to have their friends take their pictures in front of the open door. Probably most of the automated cleanings will occur after the automated cycle has been set off with a quarter for photo purposes, not after anyone has actually used the toilet. I expect to see it featured in YouTube performances any day now.
It looks as if they are praying to the toilet.
There are two architectural flourishes, both on the roof: a small pyramid of glass, like a little model of the Louvre, and an anachronistic metal stovepipe, reminiscent of a cozy shanty or an old outhouse with a crescent moon carved into the door.
When the green light marked vacant is lit, 25 cents coins only, no bills starts the visit. What follows is possibly the longest and most awkward 20 to 30 seconds of a persons day. The door slips open like an elevator, but then it stays open, to accommodate those who need extra time getting in. Meanwhile, men and women in suits walk past. It is very difficult to look inconspicuous in a bathroom on a sidewalk in New York with the door open. There is just nothing to do but stand there. And the delay will not please those who are in distress.
Black dispenses toilet paper. One will quickly familiarize oneself with that button, because the designers have deigned a little 16-inch strip the standard helping of paper. A word to the wise: There is a maximum of just three helpings. Another tip: Do not tarry. A grim yellow light turns on when there are just three minutes remaining, and after that, the door will open.
Typical communist policy. If all can't share, no one can have.
(Are you chewing gum? Did you bring enough for everybody?)
Okay, who left the lid up? Or off?
If that's not enough, you can just grab a handful of disposable seat covers.
Trouble is, police have to set up a big expensive surveillance operation to get away with that. They did it for that airport, because it’s a high traffic facility that it primarily used by civilized people. And then getting a conviction incurs all sorts of legal/court expenses. And if they don’t get a conviction, the “victim” will sue, claiming his civil rights were violated, and that costs the taxpayers a bundle more in legal/court expenses.
It has become impossible for a police officer to simply order (or haul, if necessary) an obvious abuser out of any sort of public facility without arresting, ticketing, or even identifying the person, and that’s the only cost-effective approach.
You might want to read this.
I imagine a lot of people, especially men, simply won’t bother waiting for the door to close. I can only hope the toilet is positioned so that when used as a urinal, the user’s back is towards the open door. It’s unfathomable why they didn’t add another button to allow users to close the door as soon as they’re inside.
You can use the restroom in Macys for free. Just plan ahead and make sure you’re near a department store or mini-mall while you’re walking about. And don’t beeline for the john as soon as you walk in!
I don’t know. That may be automated too, with just one poking out of the dispenser for each use cycle.
How long before someone hacks the 15 minute timer? A home for the homeless.
After the than 10 years the MTA MetroCard has still not been hacked.
I almost hope Bloomie DOES announce a run for the Presidency. Journalists will have a field day taunting him with questions about this outrageously expensive, utterly impractical, and environmentally unfriendly potty that has been introduced on his watch.
Better for them to shoot-up in the bathroom than on the street.
Those look a heck of a lot more practical (but do they have doors that can be closed for privacty?). However they obviously discriminate against women and wheelchair-bound people, so we can’t have them here.
Can sure use a bunch of those in New Orleans during Mardi Gras time.
OMG! I would hate to be around to see the look on someones face when the door opens after 15 minutes and you are still....
I also see a lot of \”hovering\” going on, just like other cultures....
“Will the homos still use it for their toe-tappery?”
Probably has a pretty good vent fan - the smell of love might not linger long enough for there to be the turn-on there must be a normal men’s bathrooms. I suppose the sounds of grunts intermingled with explosive bursts of gas could still turn them on though.
The larger picture in post #10 would have a standing man exposed on his whole right side it appears.
Even at thirty two bucks a night, it'll be the cheapest room in the city.
Make that eight bucks a night, 32 quarters.
It IS a pay toilet. You have to stick in a quarter to set off the automated cycle. But I think they’d have to charge at least 20 bucks a pop to actually make the thing self-supporting, especially since the number of people actually desperate enough to use it is likely to be tiny. Regardless of the price, I expect most users will be tourists whose main reason for using it is to have a “You’ll never believe what I did in New York” story to tell to the folks back home in the real world.
I don’t think there are any seat covers. I think you just sit on the damp, freshly rinsed metal seat rim.
Maybe there’s a koran in it.
Darks? What happens when you do bring enough gum?...
There is no seat to raise or lower, just the wide rim of the bowl, with covers made of tissue available in a dispenser to the side. Sitting down is a leap of faith, like falling backwards into a strangers arms at a corporate team-building retreat.
STUPID FOOLS! They learned nothing from Seattle’s gold-plated toilet mistake.
The below is from the Seattle Times Editorial section.
Seattle’s automated public toilet experiment is a bust. The city should cut its significant losses, cancel the contract, pay the penalty and move these dens of iniquity out of their five Seattle locations.
The high-tech toilets were launched a few years ago to provide a safe, clean place to go to the bathroom for Seattle’s homeless, tourists and others with no other place to freshen up. Cost to the city is about $600,000 a year. The toilets have turned into publicly subsidized drug and prostitution parlors. A security guard at the waterfront location filmed nine people piling into the bathroom at once.
City Attorney Tom Carr believes users sometimes disable the time sensors, which have been set to 15 minutes, and later to 10 minutes. Nine people. Want to bet they weren’t discussing Plato?
After 10 minutes, the door opens and then a self-cleaning process begins.
The bottom line is the toilets are not used often enough for the original purpose. Some homeless people say they wouldn’t dare venture in because of safety concerns about unsavory activities going on inside. Bathroom cleaners often find drug paraphernalia left behind.
Getting rid of the toilets will not be cheap. It will cost hundreds of thousands of dollars to break the contract with the vendor, but that is exactly what ought to happen.
Seattle Mayor Greg Nickels, who inherited this problem from the City Council, is contemplating increased staffing and lighting, reduced usage time and placement of exterior cameras to dissuade users from conducting drug deals. Staffing sounds expensive, and if users can dismantle time sensors, they can block or disable cameras.
The original idea for the toilets came from the need to stop people from urinating and defecating in public all of which is still going on.
The next plan ought to be low-tech port-a-potties in locations where bathrooms are not available for homeless people and other citizens. The best thing anyone can say about port-a-potties is most people don’t want to linger too long because of the aroma.
Hit the flush button on a project whose time has come and gone.
So are the Seattle ones gone?
Just remember... aim carefully or you'll incur the wrath of the Oracle.
Actually there has been some small-scale hacking of MetroCards. Some trick involving folding/creasing them a certain way. May have been foiled by now, but for a while there was a big business in stations in certain sketchy neighborhoods, with in-the-know gang boys selling swipes at a big discount to the proper fare.
I always just made sure I stopped by Trump Tower... they have nice restrooms, and I figured that if I have the opportunity to take advantage of Trump’s excessive wealth... why not?
I had not heard about that but I have read that competent hackers could not hack the MetroCard.
Joe: Hey, did the earth just move?
Jane: ha ha ha
Joe: No, I'm series. Something is moving.
Jane: Hey, get off that thing!
Joe: I can't, it is moving too fast.
Jane: up, up, and away.
Put a coupla those bad boys next to each other and you know what you've got? That's right, instant American Gladiators!
“So are the Seattle ones gone?”
NOPE. and still the subject of angry letters to the Mayor, City Council, and the news.
The article says, "A robotic arm swings out over the toilet bowl and hits it with disinfectant, while similar jets spray across the sink and the floor. Then, dryers fan hot air over everything"
So maybe they thought is was a public shower.
How long have they been there?
They had the same problem in SF. A French company offered to put self cleaning toilets pay toilets in Fishermans Wharf at no cost to the city. They were very nice. Then the Handicapped lobby protested. Not wheelchair accessible ( to prevent them turning into shooting galleries, flop houses etc they were made small). So the company offered to put in a handicap one, with a key that would be next door. Not good enough. Eventually, it got so ridiculous the company said forget it. It was a classic example of PC run amok.
I was hoping someone would post the glass restroom picture. Went looking, but couldnt find it. Using it would be a good test of instinct vs. intellect. (You know you cant be seen, but your instinct wont let you go.)