If you are bothered by the very premise that New York requires a resource for finding an amenity as basic as a bathroom and want to channel your frustration into action, check out the work of the organizations below:
- The Portland-based group Public Hygiene Lets Us Stay Human (PHLUSH) just launched an affiliate in New York, NYC Restrooms for All. PHLUSH promotes public-private partnerships to provide public restrooms for New Yorkers. This model is used around the world, and navigates around some of the zoning red tape and NIMBY-ism that has halted construction of more public restrooms. Learn more about PHLUSH here.
- Public restroom Erin Sheehy and Elizabeth Gumpert have curated a list of bathroom codes and tips for accessing bathrooms in businesses and parks that at least appear to require unlocking codes.The list mostly includes codes for businesses in Manhattan and a handful in Brooklyn, with no resources in the Bronx, Staten Island, or Queens. The pair have recently launched the print magazine Facility to use the bathroom as a way of understanding the public and communities. This print project has not stopped the Facility team from collecting and maintaining the code list; if you know of any other bathroom codes, the team is requesting submissions.
- There are federal and NY State laws requiring a minimum number of bathrooms for businesses, determined by the number of employees or visitors to a business. This OSHA law has been on the books since 1910. Despite the calculations laid out in the law, there is no requirement that businesses make these toilets available to the public, stripping the law of potential public value. Bathroom activists could use this century-old law as legal precedence in their push for public bathroom access in private businesses.