Why is finding a basic necessity so difficult in New York City? You manage to find that t-shirt you've been looking for, you successfully navigate the subway system without getting lost, but finding a clean restroom while you're exploring the city can be an arduous task.
When you get the urge to go and you're on the go, try one of these options:
With locations on nearly every New York City block, this is an always popular option. The popularity means there might be a line, but the baristas are happy to give you the key whether you make a purchase or not. Starbucks NYC Locations.
- Barnes & Nobles
Barnes and Nobles has locations throughout the city.
- Bryant Park
Located near the library on 42nd Street between 5th & 6th Avenues, when the park is open, I've found this public bathroom to be surprisingly clean, because there is always an attendant.
- Grand Central
Grand Central is located off 42nd Street between Park and Lexington Avenues. You can find the public restrooms downstairs near the food court.
- Police Stations
Any police station will happily let you use their bathroom. They are located throughout the city
- Angelica Film Center - Located at Mercer and Houston, you can access the restrooms in the café area -- which is open to everyone regardless of whether you are a ticket holder.
- New School & Foundation Center
Both located on Fifth Ave. between 13th and 15th St. these are a hassle free choice when you're in the area.
- Bed, Bath & Beyond and Old Navy
Both located on 6th Avenue near 18th Street, they offer a clean respite in the area.
- Saks Fifth Avenue
A user writes: "Has a great ladies room -- It has a nice mirrored area to refresh your make-up and telephones and couches too."
- NYU Buildings
Other than the dorms, any building with a NYU flag, which you can't miss when you're in the Washington Square area, will have accessible facilities. These work best if you can blend in as a student.
- Plaza Food Hall
Located below the Plaza Hotel (easiest entrance is on 58th Street just west of Grand Army Plaza), there's a easily accessible and well kept restroom.
- Modells Sporting Goods
There are locations all over NYC, but the one near Brooklyn Bridge/City Hall at 55 Chambers Street is one that a reader recommends.
- LBGT Community Center
The large, clean and gender neutral bathroom is a great option on West 13th Street.
- Bloomingdale's SoHo
Head to the 2nd floor on the right as you exit the escalator for the women's bathroom.
- Time Warner Center
This upscale shopping mall has luxurious public restrooms.
- Rockefeller Center
They have well cared for public restrooms -- kind of surprising given the vast number of tourists that come through this area.
- Waldorf-Astoria Hotel
At 301 Park Ave the art deco decor is worth a peek, and if you are looking for a bathroom, it's a good choice between 49th & 50th Streets.
- Marriot Marquis
Located in the heart of Times Square at 1535 Broadway, the bathrooms here are top rate (& located on the 2nd floor) if you can blend in with the businesspeople and tourists that stay here.
- The Royalton Hotel
Although it's rumored the doors aren't the easiest to open in these bathrooms/modern works of art, they're well worth a visit.
- Soho Grand Hotel
Located on on Grand and West Broadway, where public toilets are scarce. Walk past the front desk and continue down the back corridor to find the bathrooms.
- Grand Hyatt
You have to wait for someone with a room key to go in or out and casually catch the door, but once inside, you can use the facilities.
If you have a favorite "public" restroom in New York City, you can email me and I'll add it to the list!