clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile
The exterior of a public bathroom in Bryant Park. The facade is concrete and the door is arched. Jane Kratochvil Photography/Bryant Park Facebook

The best public restrooms in NYC

Because when you’ve gotta go … well, you know

View as Map

Finding a public restroom in New York City is notoriously difficult, which isn’t something you need in your time of need. Even though the city began rolling out automated public toilets nearly a decade ago, only a few have been installed thus far. Park bathrooms are notoriously gross, and Starbucks always seems to have a line. So what’s a desperate New Yorker to do?

There are some places that have begun rating and reviewing public loos—Poopers Guide comes to mind—and so with a little inspiration from that, plus our own editors’ expertise, we’ve put together a list of 15 more-or-less great public restrooms around the city. (It’s focused mainly on Manhattan, so if you’ve got an outer-borough gem, keep us posted.)

Did we miss your favorite, or a hidden gem? Let us know in the comments.

Read More
If you book a reservation through an Eater link, Vox Media may earn a commission. See our ethics policy.

Bryant Park

Copy Link

New York City’s fanciest park bathroom—and quite possibly the only park bathroom in Manhattan worth using—is the one at Bryant Park. The Beaux Arts bathroom is equipped with self-flushing Toto toilets that have self-changing sanitary seat covers, fresh flowers, original artwork, a carefully curated classical music playlist, and even air conditioning. It also got a $280,000 makeover this year, making this officially NYC’s nicest place to pee.

A post shared by Paul Brothe (@paulbrothe) on

World Trade Center Transportation Hub

Copy Link

The bathrooms at the brand-new World Trade Center Transportation Hub are about as good as it gets for a bathroom inside a transit hub. (Seriously, have you seen the ones at Penn Station?) So far, things are still neat and tidy and there never seems to be a shortage of toilet paper or hand soap, which is important. It’s also within one of Manhattan’s new architectural destinations (and thus, a tourist destination that you’ll likely be near at some point), and there’s plenty of stuff to check out after you’ve handled your business.

Grand Central Terminal

Copy Link

Yes, there actually are a few decent bathrooms within this train station. Our tip: Avoid the ones on the lower level near the dining options (they’re constantly packed with people), and head to the area near the New York Transit Museum Annex. There are a few restrooms hidden there that typically don’t have as long of lines, and—crucially—are slightly cleaner than the more populated ones.

Oliver Foerstner/Shutterstock.com

Time Warner Center

Copy Link

If you’re hanging out in Central Park and the bathrooms there are full (or gross—hey, it happens), the mall at the Time Warner Center makes for a great refuge when nature falls. There are plenty of stalls over the shopping center’s myriad floors, which are typically clean and not lacking in size or space.

The Time Warner Center
The Time Warner Center
Curbed Flickr Pool/Gina Herold

Ace Hotel New York

Copy Link

Hotel bathrooms are an obvious choice when it comes to answering nature’s call—many of them are as much public spaces as they are private lodgings, and some are destinations in their own right. The Ace Hotel falls into the latter category; thanks to its lobby bar, along with the shops and restaurants located there, it’s a really good place to find a restroom in an area that is otherwise lacking.

The Roxy Hotel

Copy Link

This one might be tricky if you’re not actually staying there, but as with many of these spots, the key is to stroll right in as if you own the place, and head to the restrooms to handle your business. There’s also a small movie theater on the cellar level.

A post shared by Rubie M. Horton (@rubiemariela) on

citizenM New York Times Square hotel

Copy Link

It’s all but inevitable that you’ll have to pee near Times Square at some point in your life, and if you’ve gotta go, citizenM’s Times Square hotel is a good place to do it. The lobby also has free Wi-Fi if you need a place to post up and work for a while.

A post shared by Caroline Perrier (@k_rolyne) on

Bloomingdale’s

Copy Link

A list of public bathrooms wouldn’t be complete without at least one department store on it. The Bloomingdale’s in Soho is a surprisingly good choice if you’re shopping on Broadway, for some reason. There are plenty to choose from—important in an area that’s generally starved for public toilets—and they tend to be far less crowded than the line at the nearest Starbucks.

Google Maps.

Bergdorf Goodman

Copy Link

On Fifth Avenue, most of the big department stores have nice, public bathrooms. Bergdorf’s stands out thanks to the fact that it typically stocks nicer products in its women’s restroom than its competitors. That’s always important.

Bergdorf Goodman
Bergdorf Goodman
LPC

Gotham West Market

Copy Link

The bathrooms at this popular food hall on Manhattan’s far west side are quite nice, and easily accessible—always a plus. There a individual stalls, allowing for maximum privacy if needed, and a communal sink. It also has a dedicated gender neutral restroom, which is an added bonus.

A post shared by Barbie Ann (@atomicangel77) on

Empire Stores

Copy Link

Empire Stores is one of those places where it’s still pretty chill and not too crowded, which means the bathrooms are still in good condition. The revamped Brooklyn waterfront warehouse hosts two sets of tidy bathrooms in its atrium, as well as one in the West Elm on the ground level; it’s a good place to pee if you’re in Brooklyn Bridge Park already.

The Way Station

Copy Link

The Way Station’s bathroom isn’t public, per se; it’s within a bar, so if you don’t want to feel like a heel, you should probably grab a drink before using it. But it’s also one of the better-known toilets in the city, thanks to the fact that the Doctor Who-themed bar has kitted it out like a TARDIS. It’s been nominated for an America’s Best Restroom award—yes, that’s a real thing—and Whovians go out of their way to make the trip to see it.

Google Maps.

David Rubenstein Atrium at Lincoln Center

Copy Link

Some of the city’s privately-owned public spaces have their own bathrooms, and the David Rubenstein Atrium at Lincoln Center is one of the better ones. In addition to clean places to do your business, this particular POPS has free Wi-Fi, comfortable seats, and a cafe—and if you stick around long enough, you might even manage to catch a live performance.

Grand Army Plaza

Copy Link

There are just four public, self-cleaning toilets in New York City, but they get the job done—and are actually pretty nice to use. It’s a nifty bit of street furniture, but don’t get too excited about it—the city was supposed to have installed 20 by now, but the project has been stalled for some time now.

A post shared by Eshani (@shanye__west) on

Corona Plaza

Copy Link

Another self-cleaning, automated public toilet is located at Corona Plaza, in Queens; it was installed in 2016, and had already racked up more than 7,000 visits in a month’s time, making it the most-used one in the city, according to the New York Times. (That’s when the whole self-cleaning thing comes in handy.)

A post shared by Louis Jackson (@louie_910_nyc) on

Loading comments...

Bryant Park

New York City’s fanciest park bathroom—and quite possibly the only park bathroom in Manhattan worth using—is the one at Bryant Park. The Beaux Arts bathroom is equipped with self-flushing Toto toilets that have self-changing sanitary seat covers, fresh flowers, original artwork, a carefully curated classical music playlist, and even air conditioning. It also got a $280,000 makeover this year, making this officially NYC’s nicest place to pee.

A post shared by Paul Brothe (@paulbrothe) on

World Trade Center Transportation Hub

The bathrooms at the brand-new World Trade Center Transportation Hub are about as good as it gets for a bathroom inside a transit hub. (Seriously, have you seen the ones at Penn Station?) So far, things are still neat and tidy and there never seems to be a shortage of toilet paper or hand soap, which is important. It’s also within one of Manhattan’s new architectural destinations (and thus, a tourist destination that you’ll likely be near at some point), and there’s plenty of stuff to check out after you’ve handled your business.

Grand Central Terminal

Oliver Foerstner/Shutterstock.com

Yes, there actually are a few decent bathrooms within this train station. Our tip: Avoid the ones on the lower level near the dining options (they’re constantly packed with people), and head to the area near the New York Transit Museum Annex. There are a few restrooms hidden there that typically don’t have as long of lines, and—crucially—are slightly cleaner than the more populated ones.

Oliver Foerstner/Shutterstock.com

Time Warner Center

The Time Warner Center
The Time Warner Center
Curbed Flickr Pool/Gina Herold

If you’re hanging out in Central Park and the bathrooms there are full (or gross—hey, it happens), the mall at the Time Warner Center makes for a great refuge when nature falls. There are plenty of stalls over the shopping center’s myriad floors, which are typically clean and not lacking in size or space.

The Time Warner Center
The Time Warner Center
Curbed Flickr Pool/Gina Herold

Ace Hotel New York

Hotel bathrooms are an obvious choice when it comes to answering nature’s call—many of them are as much public spaces as they are private lodgings, and some are destinations in their own right. The Ace Hotel falls into the latter category; thanks to its lobby bar, along with the shops and restaurants located there, it’s a really good place to find a restroom in an area that is otherwise lacking.

The Roxy Hotel

This one might be tricky if you’re not actually staying there, but as with many of these spots, the key is to stroll right in as if you own the place, and head to the restrooms to handle your business. There’s also a small movie theater on the cellar level.

A post shared by Rubie M. Horton (@rubiemariela) on

citizenM New York Times Square hotel

It’s all but inevitable that you’ll have to pee near Times Square at some point in your life, and if you’ve gotta go, citizenM’s Times Square hotel is a good place to do it. The lobby also has free Wi-Fi if you need a place to post up and work for a while.

A post shared by Caroline Perrier (@k_rolyne) on

Bloomingdale’s

Google Maps.

A list of public bathrooms wouldn’t be complete without at least one department store on it. The Bloomingdale’s in Soho is a surprisingly good choice if you’re shopping on Broadway, for some reason. There are plenty to choose from—important in an area that’s generally starved for public toilets—and they tend to be far less crowded than the line at the nearest Starbucks.

Google Maps.

Bergdorf Goodman

Bergdorf Goodman
Bergdorf Goodman
LPC

On Fifth Avenue, most of the big department stores have nice, public bathrooms. Bergdorf’s stands out thanks to the fact that it typically stocks nicer products in its women’s restroom than its competitors. That’s always important.

Bergdorf Goodman
Bergdorf Goodman
LPC

Gotham West Market

The bathrooms at this popular food hall on Manhattan’s far west side are quite nice, and easily accessible—always a plus. There a individual stalls, allowing for maximum privacy if needed, and a communal sink. It also has a dedicated gender neutral restroom, which is an added bonus.

A post shared by Barbie Ann (@atomicangel77) on

Empire Stores

Empire Stores is one of those places where it’s still pretty chill and not too crowded, which means the bathrooms are still in good condition. The revamped Brooklyn waterfront warehouse hosts two sets of tidy bathrooms in its atrium, as well as one in the West Elm on the ground level; it’s a good place to pee if you’re in Brooklyn Bridge Park already.

The Way Station

Google Maps.

The Way Station’s bathroom isn’t public, per se; it’s within a bar, so if you don’t want to feel like a heel, you should probably grab a drink before using it. But it’s also one of the better-known toilets in the city, thanks to the fact that the Doctor Who-themed bar has kitted it out like a TARDIS. It’s been nominated for an America’s Best Restroom award—yes, that’s a real thing—and Whovians go out of their way to make the trip to see it.

Google Maps.

David Rubenstein Atrium at Lincoln Center

Some of the city’s privately-owned public spaces have their own bathrooms, and the David Rubenstein Atrium at Lincoln Center is one of the better ones. In addition to clean places to do your business, this particular POPS has free Wi-Fi, comfortable seats, and a cafe—and if you stick around long enough, you might even manage to catch a live performance.

Grand Army Plaza

There are just four public, self-cleaning toilets in New York City, but they get the job done—and are actually pretty nice to use. It’s a nifty bit of street furniture, but don’t get too excited about it—the city was supposed to have installed 20 by now, but the project has been stalled for some time now.

A post shared by Eshani (@shanye__west) on

Corona Plaza

Another self-cleaning, automated public toilet is located at Corona Plaza, in Queens; it was installed in 2016, and had already racked up more than 7,000 visits in a month’s time, making it the most-used one in the city, according to the New York Times. (That’s when the whole self-cleaning thing comes in handy.)

A post shared by Louis Jackson (@louie_910_nyc) on