Subway bathrooms in the New York City transit system exist, but they are rare. I've only seen them in less than a handful of stations, and usually they are locked or closed. I have never been inside one in six years of living in NYC. So when I saw the New York Times wrote an article entitled "Subway Bathrooms: Are They As Bad as You Think?" I was quite intrigued.
How rare are subway bathrooms? Is it just the lines I've been riding where I feel like they are elusive or nonexistent?
The most scandalous thing about New York’s subway bathrooms may be not how gross they are, but how few. By the M.T.A.’s official count, there are operative restrooms — at least one per gender — in 51 of the 472 stations. In a system with an average 5.6 million riders each weekday, that’s about one bathroom for every 53,000 riders.
The M.T.A. is working on this. The agency fixed up 12 bathrooms last year. It plans to refurbish an additional 25 this year. “Our customers and employees can all use more open, clean bathrooms,” said Shams Tarek, an M.T.A. spokesman.
Venturing inside these bathrooms, Andy Newman of the intrepid New York Times team is fearless, which results in some disturbing anecdotes:
Maximum-security steampunk: In the men’s room, toilet paper rolls hung from a metal handrail in the stall by a heavy chain and padlock.
And some amusing ones:
Beside the empty paper-towel dispenser, a hand dryer emitted a feeble puff.
For those brave enough to read the story, you can see it in full here.