New York City’s “Tiffany’s of public restrooms” just got a good polishing. Bryant Park’s public restrooms are fresh off of a $280,000 makeover that added sleek new Toto toilets, fresh tiles (and a warm color palette), and—the best part in the dog days of summer—a modern air conditioning system. (You won’t find all that in a Starbucks bathroom.)
The 315-square-foot Beaux Arts bathroom building tucked behind the New York Public Library in Bryant Park is already a singular urban experience, with fresh flowers, ambient classical music, and a pair of attendants on duty at most times. And these fancy loos have proven extremely popular: in 2016, an average of 3,266 people used the bathroom every day, sometimes waiting in 40-plus-person lines for the privilege.
So how did this high-end WC come about? Thank legendary philanthropist Brooke Astor: after encountering a so-called “hooligan” in the park, she implored her good friend David Rockefeller to clean the area up. The rest is history. Check out a video tour of the spiffy spaces.