You don’t have to be royalty to sit on this throne!
The public restrooms in Bryant Park, which were already among the nicest in the city (think: restroom attendants and rotating sanitary covers on toilets), are going to be even nicer when they reopen this month after a $280,000 renovation.
According to the Times, the bathrooms will now feature fancy Toto toilets, an air conditioning system and original artwork of the park. The restroom attendants, fresh flowers and classical music from before will also return.
“I’m going to come here more,” one such regular wisely noted. “I thought it was already good enough and now they’re going to make it even better? I may live here.”
The bathroom sure isn’t cheap to maintain; according to the Times, its annual operating budget is $271,000, which includes $27,000 for 14,040 industrial-size rolls of single-ply toilet paper, $14,160 for flowers, and between $25,000 to $30,000 a year for the restroom attendants. The bathroom is sponsored by private and corporate donors.
So why is this bathroom as nice as it is? It all started with the late socialite Brooke Astor, who was once approached by a “hooligan” in Bryant Park when she was making her way over to the library for a meeting in 1979. She pled with David Rockefeller to make the park better, and — as is usually the case with society ladies — she got her way and he secured the funds to improve it.
The president of the Bryant Park Corporation, Dan Biederman, says he was inspired by this story during the renovations of the bathroom, which he envisioned as “a powder room in a country estate.”
“Mrs. Astor was in my mind,” he said about the bathroom. “Anybody from homeless people to Mrs. Astor could use it.” [NYT]