Sunday, March 30, 2008

NYC: Public bathroom report from Bryant Park

It is widely known that NYC underwent a massive clean-up, both substantively and image-wise, over the past 20 years or so. The 1970s, when the city teetered on the bring of bankruptcy and basically went into receivership, were the days of trash and hooker-strewn streets, where roaming packs of truant teenagers (no exaggeration) kept people fearfully locked inside their homes. No place was more emblematic of the city's problems than Times Square, full of sex shops, dirty movie houses, and drugs.

A block away from Times Square is a (now) lovely place called Bryant Park, adjacent to the main branch of the famous New York Public Library. In the Bad Old Days of NYC, it was basically an open air drug bazar and home to many, many, many homeless, drug addicts and hookers. Something like L.A.'s Pershing Square, but much nastier.

Today, Bryant Park is filled with cafe kiosks, great seating areas, gorgeous landscaping. It is even hosts events like New York Fashion Week, a holiday ice skating rink, and a great summer concert series. I knew it had cleaned up its image, but I was unprepared to find the foyer (yes, it has a real foyer) of this public bathroom building:

filled with fresh flowers worthy of - no, bigger than would be found at- the Ritz Carlton Hotel.

For more of my public potty reports, check here.

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