When you gotta go, you gotta go…

Public Toilet
By: Cristiano Betta

Our time in New York was far too short. We walked, and walked, and walked. Caught the subway a lot (we had a 7-day pass) but mostly, we walked. And as we quickly learned, New York City is not big on public toilets.

Sure, there are toilets in malls but we weren’t there for the shopping, and were generally never near one (least of all when the need to pee struck). The Times Square one closes at night; the ones in Central Park are always packed. There were a lot of Cokes bought at various McDonald’s just so we could nip into the bathroom like schmucks.

Following on from yesterday’s post about what to do in Auckland, I thought I might put together a quick post about finding toilets in the city off the top of my head.

My ‘favourite toilet in Auckland city’ award goes to … Smith and Caughey’s, level one. That’s the big department store on Queen St, just down from the Civic theatre and across from JB Hi-Fi.

Another good option is the toilets at the cinema. Before I discovered Smith and Caughey’s, this was my go-to, even before I actually worked at the movies. They’re around the back behind the ticket counters, which are up a couple of levels from the ground floor.

Down at the harbour end of Queen St, there’s Britomart. Admittedly I haven’t been to the train station in awhile, but the facilities always used to be pretty good. They’re down a level or two and tucked away behind around the escalators.

There are also lots of public toilets in town (surprisingly way more than I thought!) though I can’t vouch for any of them. Refer to http://www.toiletmap.co.nz/ for more, which lists them on a handy dandy map.

What cities are the best/worst for public toilets? (Paris actually caters really well in this regard, IMO.) Aucklanders, any other lesser-known toilets to add?

13 thoughts on “When you gotta go, you gotta go…

  1. NYC HOTELS! That’s where I go to the bathroom when I’m out and about and don’t want to buy a drink at Starbucks or an equivalent. Back in my Late Show with David Letterman days, I frequented the Marriott Hotel bathroom when I was doing outside work for the show down in the T-Square area.

  2. You were really far too nice to be paying for washrooms in North America. I only do that in Europe (Paris in particular because they’re notorious for not having any washrooms open to public folks in stores).

    I usually go to hotels and walk right in to the bathroom, I go into any coffee shop chain like Starbucks, or a big food chain like McDonalds and use their washrooms for free (in Paris this was a godsend to find one)…

    Bookstores are good for this too — Indigo, Chapters…

    Basically I never ever found a problem using washrooms in America. It’s in Paris and Europe in particular that I balk at paying money (1 EURO!!) for a washroom.

    1. See, we NEVER paid for the bathroom in Paris – there were just tons and tons of public loos all around! I didn’t really have much trouble in Europe in general, but I do think that was because we generally stayed quite central and didn’t tend to spend all day out (it was just too hot) but rather would just go out for a few hours at a time then go back to where we were staying, and while we were out we could usually use the bathroom wherever we were eating. NYC was a rare beast because we had no transport of our own, were staying in Brooklyn/Queens and spent all day out.

  3. 90% of the public toilets I’ve ever used in NZ have been pretty amazing. Even at low-cost campgrounds. You guys are awesome at spatial frequency and cleanliness.

    I love the one out at Puhinui Reserve–it plays music as you pee!

    Fave bathroom in NZ hands down award, though, goes to the one at Muriwai. It is constructed of cedar! Mmmmm….

    1. “Spatial frequency and cleanliness” – LOL, this is priceless!

      Never been to Puhinui, I must admit. That’s awesome. Can’t remember if I’ve used the loo at Muriwai… hoping to get out there again soon, will check :)

      I do agree public bathrooms here are generally quite good :)

  4. I second, Erin’s hotel suggestion. If you just march right in like you belong there nobody will say anything. I’ve used the bathroom at many very nice hotels in Boston, NYC, Providence etc. I haven’t made it to NZ yet, but when I do I’m looking forward to the clean toilets ;-)

  5. McDonald’s, Starbucks, chain restaurants, hotel lobbies, libraries. At night, any bar.

    If you look clean and like you know what you’re doing, no one ever gives you any trouble. I’ve never had a problem with it, but certainly would welcome more public bathrooms in the city.

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