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Toilet Confessions
August 6, 2008 7:36 PM   Subscribe

Tired of getting busted for illegally peeing* in New York City? Try Diaroogle.com, a toilet search engine that "helps you find quality public toilets from your mobile phone."

*This post is really just a roundabout way of linking to the very excellent Courthouse Confessions blog while simultaneously satisfying my urge to post about toilets.
posted by dhammond (40 comments total) 8 users marked this as a favorite

 
I predict a Safe2pee merger.
posted by [NOT HERMITOSIS-IST] at 7:44 PM on August 6, 2008


So I once urinated on the statue of Christopher Columbus in front of a hundred thousand people. I really had to go and there were cops everywhere guarding the kind of places that would have public bathrooms. This wasn't intended as a political statement, despite being at a protest. I just had to go and had few options. Anyway, despite asking my friends to "cover me" (it made as little sense to them as it does typing), people started noticing and joining in. I suspect others were like me and just needed to go to the bathroom, but then the cheering started. And there I was, committing a wanton act of public urination in front of thousands of people and hundreds of cops. If only I had read this post.
posted by allen.spaulding at 7:49 PM on August 6, 2008 [7 favorites]


JERRY: Anywhere in the city?

GEORGE: Anywhere in the city - I'll tell you the best public toilet.

JERRY: Okay.. Fifty-fourth and Sixth?

GEORGE: Sperry Rand Building. 14th floor, Morgan Apparel. Mention my name - she'll give you the key.

JERRY: Alright.. Sixty-fifth and Tenth.

GEORGE: (scoffs) Are you kidding? Lincoln Center. Alice Tully Hall, the Met. Magnificent facilities.
posted by Knappster at 7:57 PM on August 6, 2008 [4 favorites]


Done many times before: NY Restroom was one of the earlier Google Maps mashups. It was even in the New Yorker.And pointed out, back in 2006:
“I can dig why you want to map the toilets,” he said to Im. “But how do you get the information when you really need it, as it were?” Im conceded that he hadn’t quite worked out that part of his plan.
Is it really that practical?
posted by johnjreiser at 7:57 PM on August 6, 2008


hm. apparently there are no public toilets in brooklyn.
posted by fuzzypantalones at 8:02 PM on August 6, 2008


Women will use this. Men will continue to pee in public. It's a given.
posted by Dreama at 8:07 PM on August 6, 2008 [1 favorite]


“But how do you get the information when you really need it, as it were?” Im conceded that he hadn’t quite worked out that part of his plan.

Had mobile phones not been invented in 2006?
posted by jrockway at 8:08 PM on August 6, 2008


I guess this is where to look after visiting this site?
posted by puke & cry at 8:13 PM on August 6, 2008


That blog is interesting and saddening in several ways.

I went to college with a girl who freshman year spent a night in the lockup for jumping the turnstile.
posted by TheOnlyCoolTim at 8:16 PM on August 6, 2008


Man, you ain't never felt the force of the Panopticon until you find yourself needing to pee in the middle of the day in Manhattan. Then you suddenly realize Society's like a Jeremy Betham wet dream straight-up pointed at your crotch.
posted by Greg Nog at 8:22 PM on August 6, 2008 [4 favorites]


You can pee in pretty much any and every Starbucks for free.
posted by ben242 at 8:31 PM on August 6, 2008


And I have.
posted by ben242 at 8:31 PM on August 6, 2008 [2 favorites]


Imagine 100 years ago, when being black meant you could not use white restrooms, or generally "encouraged" not to. The number of black restrooms was probably limited, outside of black neighborhoods, leaving an entire population of men, women and children with few options but behind dumpsters and parked cars. It's a sort of "toilet tyranny" that probably plays out in any country with a repressed minority, an instrument of the man to keep certain people down. Who knew the public toilet could have so many political connotations, I wonder if anyone has ever done a study or history of it.
posted by stbalbach at 8:33 PM on August 6, 2008 [2 favorites]


Last year, as I was just about to pee in "public" as a guy in pitch-dark behind extremely remote bushes in a totally sanitary and okay place because the port-a-pottie was full and taped shut, I was informed by a flashlight-wielding deputy probably waiting for juicier action that "public" urination, no matter how discreet, can result in your being listed as a sex offender. Like on the interwebs even, for your friends to see. This was in "liberal" Massachusetts; YMMV.

So I wouldn't be whipping it out just anywhere on the advice of some mobile app.
posted by Camofrog at 8:54 PM on August 6, 2008 [1 favorite]


I read this and started giggling, because I live in NYC and know the feeling:

Man, you ain't never felt the force of the Panopticon until you find yourself needing to pee in the middle of the day in Manhattan. Then you suddenly realize Society's like a Jeremy Betham wet dream straight-up pointed at your crotch.

Then I read this and stopped giggling, because there's no way I'll ever know how difficult some have had it:

Imagine 100 years ago, when being black meant you could not use white restrooms, or generally "encouraged" not to. The number of black restrooms was probably limited, outside of black neighborhoods, leaving an entire population of men, women and children with few options but behind dumpsters and parked cars.
posted by Mikey-San at 8:55 PM on August 6, 2008


The guy that got busted, "Mark Mark Mark," doesn't strike me as the type who even has a phone. So he probably deserved to get busted.
posted by Camofrog at 9:08 PM on August 6, 2008


I like Mark Mark Mark's post. I especially like it when I read it in the Dude's voice.
posted by stenseng at 9:25 PM on August 6, 2008


Are New Yorkers able to do anything on their own?
posted by turgid dahlia at 9:29 PM on August 6, 2008


It just occurred to me that even though McDonald's may be making us all obese, it's also providing a major public good by being essentially the only reliable, ubiquitous source for public toilets across the country. Apart from officially designated public restrooms -- which are so few and far between it's not even funny -- there's no place where I feel nearly as comfortable strolling in and using the bathroom without even the flimsiest pretext of wanting to purchase something. For the number of times I've screeched into a McDonald's on the side of some desolate highway in the middle of nowhere, the Golden Arches will always have a special place in my heart.
posted by decoherence at 9:31 PM on August 6, 2008


The Mark Mark Mark abides.
posted by katillathehun at 10:39 PM on August 6, 2008


From my cold dead hand.
posted by homunculus at 11:10 PM on August 6, 2008


In this town pissing behind a dumpster as a drunken freshmen means you get charged as a sex offender and you can't rent or buy a place to live anywhere near a house/school/daycare/church. AS LONG AS YOU LIVE.
posted by sourwookie at 11:32 PM on August 6, 2008


/not me. anecdotaly.
posted by sourwookie at 11:33 PM on August 6, 2008


The RNC is building a site like this for the convention.
posted by Poolio at 12:18 AM on August 7, 2008


OMG. Is that really their logo? That glassy-eyed elephant is tripping his balls off!
posted by sourwookie at 12:27 AM on August 7, 2008 [1 favorite]


A quick search, and its true. BTW, check out the balloonish spread on their sample tee. Body by Chevy Suburban, indeed!
posted by sourwookie at 12:31 AM on August 7, 2008


I find that in Toronto, it's really really easy to urinate out of doors, especially downtown. Everybody is way too polite and afraid of offending you to make a fuss about it, especially if you're in a bit of a state.
posted by tehloki at 2:02 AM on August 7, 2008


This post is genius. Sort of a metafilter speedball - humour and web2ness leading to the discovery of compelling art and human stories. Cheers!
posted by The Salaryman at 2:05 AM on August 7, 2008


Bars. Pretty much any bar will let you go. Just walk in and ask the bartender nicely. Bartenders understand, but they like to be asked.
posted by hellbient at 5:49 AM on August 7, 2008


Yeah, what hellbient said, but I've pissed in back alleys and once on the darkened middle level of the West 4th St. subway station (hey, it was the wee hours and I'd been drinking for a long time and... oh, never mind, if you haven't been there you won't understand), and I have to say, if you get busted for pissing in public you're lazy, unimaginative, or so drunk you probably need to be locked up for your own good.

I went to college with a girl who freshman year spent a night in the lockup for jumping the turnstile.

I got ticketed for this early in my NYC years when the gal I was going out with (a wild young hellion) insisted on our going through the turnstile together. A cop saw us, came over, and informed us that one of us was breaking the law. I immediately volunteered to take the rap, and the cop was quite polite to me, presumably because I was being gentlemanly. (And also, needless to say, because I was white and didn't look like a bum.) Fortunately, I had recently moved and my ID still had my old address, so I just ignored the ticket. Take that, The Man!
posted by languagehat at 6:24 AM on August 7, 2008


It just occurred to me that even though McDonald's may be making us all obese, it's also providing a major public good by being essentially the only reliable, ubiquitous source for public toilets across the country. Apart from officially designated public restrooms -- which are so few and far between it's not even funny -- there's no place where I feel nearly as comfortable strolling in and using the bathroom without even the flimsiest pretext of wanting to purchase something. For the number of times I've screeched into a McDonald's on the side of some desolate highway in the middle of nowhere, the Golden Arches will always have a special place in my heart.

but if you are in Germany, near the train station you have to pay the piss-lady 50 cents to make your own "golden arch."
posted by geos at 6:42 AM on August 7, 2008


It's about time someone made a search engine that looked out for Number One.
posted by Spatch at 7:03 AM on August 7, 2008 [1 favorite]


The Internets Celebrities have you covered.
posted by grabbingsand at 7:26 AM on August 7, 2008


MizPee does the same thing, but seems to have more listings.
posted by Shebear at 7:46 AM on August 7, 2008


And also, needless to say, because I was white and didn't look like a bum.

How to deal with cops:

1. Be White.
2. Be female.
3. Be old.
4. Don't look like a bum, poor, etc.

I myself can only fulfill 1 and 4, but I feel very badly for those who can fulfill even less. Meanwhile, older white women who don't look like they're from the trailer park? You guys should probably be taking up lives of crime.
posted by TheOnlyCoolTim at 8:13 AM on August 7, 2008 [2 favorites]


It's so fucking ridiculous the lack of public toilets. My city (and others) are considering spending something like $250,000 for these fancy, high-tech self-cleaning toilets and it's some big debate and will take years to happen. WTF is so difficult about this? I know there's some concern about people defacing the bathrooms, but that's easily solved by charging a token amount to open the door. (I think SF has 15-minute time limit toilets for a quarter?) As far as drugs/prostitution stuff, well, that's going to happen anyway. Just use the already numerous rent-a-cops patrolling the city to stop by the restrooms once in awhile. I don't get why this is so difficult.
posted by wastelands at 8:21 AM on August 7, 2008


All I can say is: sorry, Prince Street. (Long story...)
posted by bitter-girl.com at 8:47 AM on August 7, 2008


It just occurred to me that even though McDonald's may be making us all obese, it's also providing a major public good by being essentially the only reliable, ubiquitous source for public toilets across the country. Apart from officially designated public restrooms -- which are so few and far between it's not even funny -- there's no place where I feel nearly as comfortable strolling in and using the bathroom without even the flimsiest pretext of wanting to purchase something. For the number of times I've screeched into a McDonald's on the side of some desolate highway in the middle of nowhere, the Golden Arches will always have a special place in my heart.

This doesn;t work so well in Manhattan, when the McD's has 'seating area and restrooms for customers only' signs, and they're on the second story...
posted by pupdog at 1:44 PM on August 7, 2008


i peed on a patrol car parked on Bourbon St one time.

seriously, though, this seems to me like a basic 'inalienable right' sortof thing. if a municipality decides to outlaw public urination, then it should follow that said municipality should be required to provide adequate facilities for their population. McD's is certainly not obligated to provide this service, and there's no reason why i should have to 'just buy something' in order to meet the basic human requirement to urinate.

there're some colorful/interesting characters in that blog...
posted by bilgepump at 12:52 AM on August 8, 2008


Next time, on Public Urination Confessions:

This one time I was coming home on the T late after a night of heavy drinking. I was kind of sauces but sobering up, and as the trolley was trundling down the street I suddenly needed to pee. Very, very badly. I was only about a mile from my apartment, but I couldn't wait.

I got off at the next stop and ran around looking for somewhere discreet to pee. This being a heavily trafficked street, there was nowhere to be found. Finally, I found a place and unzipped my fly.

That place was a dumpster owned by the Planned Parenthood building. It was in a little alley with a pretty good view from the main street. I hid as far behind it as I could.

As I finished, I looked up to see if anyone was watching from the street and I caught the gaze of the security camera pointed straight at the garbage. I zipped, gave a little wave, and ran off.

Anyway, as I was telling this story to a friend the next day, she said, "There's a 24 hour supermarket right next to that Planned Parenthood. Why didn't you just go in there?" The best laid plans...
posted by backseatpilot at 5:59 AM on August 15, 2008


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