If you’ve visited or lived in New York City, you’ll likely know that finding a public bathroom in a time of need is nearly impossible. The city has a problem with a lack of publicly available spaces to take care of business, but there are solutions if you know where to look.
On this page
There are options available ranging from public listings to private apps, so here’s what you need to know.
A map of every bathroom in New York City
Dr. Wansoo, the creator of nyrestroom.com and professor at Rutgers University, aimed to cure one of Manhattan’s oldest problems—the difficulty of finding a public restroom—and he came up with a handy map that’s accessible to everyone.
So if you’re stuck anywhere in the city, you can load up this website and it will show you the public, book store, coffee shop, hotel, fast food, and “other” bathrooms available around the city.
There are sometimes some extra details listed but in general it’s just a helpful guide to get you started.
Take note that while it’s still maintained, it’s not perfect, and sometimes you will have to try a couple locations but it’s easier than just blindly wandering the Manhattan (and other borough) streets.
To see a list of all the New York Restrooms, click here.
An app to find for non-public bathrooms (and free public bathrooms as well)
The other alternative is Lulu, an app that was announced a couple of years ago but has finally been released in July 2022. The general concept is that this company and app has found bathrooms in private spaces (read: restaurants and bars) all across New York City, and they give you the option to be able to rent a little private space out for a very brief amount of time.
The app advertises:
Need a bathroom? We got you.
We partner with restaurants & lounges to offer curated bathrooms on-demand.
We also have plenty of free public bathrooms!https://www.luluapp.com/
The downside is that many of these spaces require you to pay, but sometimes you’re willing to do anything to find something clean and nice. The prices range depending on the deal with the supplier wants to give, but the app provides coupons and deals so that you can find something not-so-public.
It also shows all the public bathrooms available around the place, in case you’re nearby one and don’t want to pay.
To find a bathroom near you and download the Lulu app, click here for Google Play and the iOS App Store.
There’s also an official NYCGo guide to public bathrooms
Finally, and less comprehensively, there’s an official guide to public bathrooms.
You can find a full list of New York City parks with public restrooms at the Parks Department website. The public restrooms in Bryant Park—replete with attendants, Toto toilets and fixtures, a classical-music soundtrack and fresh flowers—are perhaps the most notable in the City.https://www.nycgo.com/plan-your-trip/basic-information/public-restrooms
To be honest I had no idea this existed in Bryant Park but there you go!
Another fun fact from this site:
The City contracted more than a decade ago to build 20 automatic public toilets; most remain in a warehouse in Queens. So far, there is one facility in Madison Square Park and another at Plaza de Las Americas (at Wadsworth Avenue and West 175th Street) in Manhattan; one in Brooklyn’s Grand Army Plaza; one at Corona Plaza in Queens; and one at Fordham Plaza in the Bronx.
Each costs 25 cents for 15 minutes of use. The New York City Department of Transportation says that additional ones will be installed at Valentino Park and Pier in Red Hook, Brooklyn, and in downtown Far Rockaway, Queens, by mid-2019; plans, or at least assessments, for more locations are in the works.https://www.nycgo.com/plan-your-trip/basic-information/public-restrooms
Now don’t get me wrong, I know there’s some red tape, but “decades” to roll these bathrooms out!? Madness.
I hope this helps you find your moment of zen!