For a world-class city with over eight million people, New York has a shocking lack of public toilets. If you plan to walk around for a few hours, you might want some helpful strategies before you set off:
Most restaurants and bars allow customers only to use their facilities. If you ask politely, some restaurants might allow you to use their bathroom, but do not automatically expect you will be warmly greeted and welcomed. Obviously if you have a health problem, you might want to plead your case as it will probably be persuasive!
Starbucks, McDonalds and other fast-food restaurants in Manhattan generally have clean bathrooms that are easy to find and not problematic to use. Museums, public libraries and some parks have toilets, but nearly all subway stations do not.
Many tourists wonder about the lack of public toilets, and New Yorkers do as well. For 15 years the City Council and mayor have made alternating proposals and counterproposals. The good news? While a number of public toilets have since appeared, you'll need to rely on our friends at Sit or Squat to locate all the many possibilities to do your business. Because as of now, only a handful of public toilets, operated by JCDecaux, have been built, due to apparently endless complications.
For the more adventurous travelers out there, we recommend Ray Tempus' A 40 Point Guide To Peeing In New York. In hilarious words and uncensored original drawings Mr. Tempus tells you - Man or Woman, young or old - how you can take car of bodily business, get away with it and actually have some fun doing it. In his irreverent A 40 Point Guide To Peeing In New York, Tempus reveals the sophisticated New Yorkers secrets to using automobiles and mailboxes as shields, taking advantage of construction scaffolds and raincoats, and employing conversation with imaginary friends as covers. The instructions are clear as a bell and each of the 40 points is accompanied with one of Tempus's nonpareil drawings. This book will have you laughing and peeing for a long time to come!