July 29, 2010 / Brooklyn news / Greenpoint / Meadows of Shame

The dirty, smelly truth about our public toilets

The Brooklyn Paper
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Cooper Park
Overview: One of the smallest bathrooms in the neighborhood. Soap was nearly out of the dispenser, a worrying sign. Both toilets had a film of grime that did not disappear after it was flushed. Troubling. Floors were clean, with a scent of mild chlorine.
Grade: C–
McCarren Park
Overview: So disgusting that the Open Space Alliance had to hire additional staff to power wash and monitor them. The toilets appeared clean and the sinks worked, but the smell can be overpowering. Soap was present in the dispensers and an air dryer for wet hands worked well. The women’s room was in need of a good scrub to tame the cloacal fog from its stalls.
Grade: D+
McGolrick Park
Overview: A slightly acrid smell and some watery residue on the floor. The sink slightly backed up and an empty beer bottle rested next to the toilet stall. Liquid soap and paper towels were supplied. Troubling dark spots on the floor near the urinal in the men’s room.
Grade: B
Sternberg Park
Overview: Newest and the largest of the bunch. Dispensers were empty and a bar of soap had worn down to bits. One men’s room toilet is broken and wrapped with a garbage bag to prevent use. Even the “stainless steel” urinals are soiled. Floors had barely any smell, but a good sweep would be helpful.
Grade: C+

Summer is here and people are out and about in the neighborhood for longer hours — which means the call of nature often beckons. Knowing where the nearest public restroom is located is critical for any urban explorer, but which ones are the cleanest?

We visited four of North Brooklyn’s busiest comfort stations, in the middle of the four largest parks in Williamsburg and Greenpoint, giving you the low-down on which bathroom is the cleanest.

The results are not that shocking.

If venturing inside these four parks bathrooms, it is best that you hold your nose, use lots of toilet paper on the seat, and bring your own soap — or at least try not to touch anything while you are there.

Here’s our report:

Updated 5:19 pm, July 9, 2018
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Reasonable discourse

Wendy from Greenpoint says:
Like duh for McCarren.
Its overrun by homeless men and druggies and its the ONLY bathroom in the ENTIRE park!!
I avoid that place like the plague!
July 29, 2010, 10:08 am
Sara from Greenpoint says:
Wow -- "cloacal" -- perfect description. You should get an A just for doing this article. (p.s. you forgot American Playground...)
July 29, 2010, 10:48 am
tom from park slope says:
I always wondered why someone doesn't open up a for/pay restroom(s) around the City. Wouldn't make a lot of money but I bet it would be steady. And they could be kept clean.
July 29, 2010, 11:31 pm
Hopper from Los S-S says:
There're also the effluvient Rodney Park facilities (adjacent to the BQE between South 4th & South 5th Streets).
Don't bother making the trip unless it's unavoidable!
July 30, 2010, 10:06 am
Wendy from Greenpoint says:
THANK YOU TOM! I would pay to use a clean bathroom. San Francisco has had great luck with them.
Aug. 2, 2010, 8:47 am
thomas lawrence from brooklyn heights says:
This article is testimony to the complete inability of government to fund anything for "public" use. If it doesn't make money, and I mean lots of money, then it's not a concern of government or the private sector. The suggestion to privatize public toilets is more such testimony. I don't know the answer, but I do know that the richest one percent of wealthholders in this city and state don't pay a fair share of taxes, which would otherwise counterbalance the recession (depression) we're in. Check out Bernie Sanders of VT on this matter. He spoke on NPR recently about the Estate Tax. By the way, when was the last time you witnessed a newspaper refer to "citizens."
Aug. 7, 2010, 9:40 pm

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