January 22, 2020 9:26 PM   Subscribe

Facility is a new print-only magazine about bathrooms. One part of the magazine is available online, however: a list of codes for public restrooms in several US cities.
posted by Johnny Wallflower (33 comments total) 24 users marked this as a favorite
Just Indianapolis in between Philadelphia and Oakland? No Chicago or Denver?
posted by crazy with stars at 11:17 PM on January 22, 2020

Facility is a new print-only magazine about bathrooms.

I hope it's printed on soft, absorbent paper.
posted by Joe in Australia at 12:05 AM on January 23, 2020 [3 favorites]

Just Indianapolis in between Philadelphia and Oakland?

From the article:
This list is New York City-centric, because that's where we live and piss, but we'll happily post codes from other locales. Send codes to
posted by virago at 12:21 AM on January 23, 2020 [1 favorite]

How often do the chain coffee shops tend to change their codes? I'd have assumed that they change them often enough to render the list useless pretty quickly, but I hope I'm wrong.
posted by Glier's Goetta at 2:53 AM on January 23, 2020 [1 favorite]

Johnny Wallflower, you must be Number 1 and Number 2 amongst Mefites! I'm sure you're flush with success, no risk of elimination here.

(Best of the web. For serious.)
posted by prismatic7 at 3:16 AM on January 23, 2020 [6 favorites]

There's a similar initiative in London.
posted by Paul Slade at 3:46 AM on January 23, 2020 [1 favorite]

Bathrooms have codes?
posted by octothorpe at 4:11 AM on January 23, 2020 [6 favorites]


It's also worth noting that the "bathroom scout" phone app has a free form comment option. (But, nobody ever used it for this at the moment.)

Requiring free public restrooms as a condition of doing business seems like an obvious law that should have happened around the same time as indoor plumbing.
posted by eotvos at 4:11 AM on January 23, 2020 [1 favorite]

When I was pregnant, there were times when I decided not to go and do things I really wanted to do because I couldn’t be certain there was a bathroom. Just one bodily state in many bodily states that makes a list like this incredibly useful (assuming it covers your city).
posted by CMcG at 4:12 AM on January 23, 2020 [3 favorites]

octothorpe: "Bathrooms have codes?"

I mean I get the idea but I've only ever encountered toilets unlocked with keys with giant spoons or such attached.
posted by octothorpe at 4:34 AM on January 23, 2020 [13 favorites]

This reminds me of the work of CEPTIA, possibly the best thing ever to come out of Dayton, Ohio (powered flight included).
posted by rikschell at 4:44 AM on January 23, 2020 [2 favorites]

rikschell, that is fantastic! Never heard of this organisation before, but I fully agree with your assessment. The following sentence from the wiki especially was just pure gold:

Membership in [CEPTIA] cost only $0.25, and members received the Committee's newsletter, the Free Toilet Paper.
posted by Dysk at 5:34 AM on January 23, 2020 [1 favorite]

We had a not for public use bathroom at the record store, but like, use your discretion. It wasn't because the store owner was an asshole, but because the bathroom was like, sub-Bodega Bathroom disgusting and sometimes stocked with porn and hazed with pot smoke thanks to the dudes I worked with. For the first couple years I worked there, the bathroom just didn't work, and even I would have to close up and go next door to the head shop, whose own disgusting bathroom was light years better than ours. Finally somebody put some kind of industrial grade chemicals down the toilet and the sink drain and things started working again. But it was still disgusting.

As the only woman on staff, I always felt like that bathroom was kind of hazing, and in particular hazing directed at me. I once asked the first owner if we could maybe have a mirror over the sink and he gave me this you don't need to be staring at yourself putting on makeup thing about vanity. And I was like, yeah, but what if I have spinach between my teeth?

A couple of years into the New Owner's tenture, I got so fed up one night, I bough two gallons of bleach and an industrial grade mask and gloves stayed late after a shift to scrub. I got it to essentially an F from an F- ( I could do nothing about the bugs, the rodents, the penis graffiti, the patches of furry black mold, and the fact that the store flooded all the time so the floor was continuously wet), and the next day New Owner was so astonished/impressed he gave me $150 in store credit (which I remember spending partially on The Clean Anthology, because ha)

I generally let customers use the bathroom with lots of disclaimers. Exceptions being hugely drunk college students (I didn't want to clean up vomit) and a few regulars that I generally worried my OD on the toilet (which is a grand rock and roll tradition, but not one I wanted to deal with on a Saturday night for 8/hr + store discounts). Moms with kids were tricky. They asked the most and I always let them go, with warnings and a "you guys know there's a McDonalds next door, right?" but most would come out looking horrified and covering their children's eyes , asking me if I had any decency. One harrangued me for a solid ten. I figured she'd found a dead rat on the floor, or worse, in the toilet. I asked if she had and her kid started crying. And she stormed off telling me that I would be the reason her child didn't sleep for months.

TLDR: be careful of record store bathrooms. And sometimes, not for public use is to protect you.
posted by thivaia at 5:38 AM on January 23, 2020 [22 favorites]

The three unspeakable sins of a public washroom:

3) Poor air changeover.
2) Door handles, inevitably wet.
1) Silence.
posted by seanmpuckett at 5:50 AM on January 23, 2020 [2 favorites]

man I have RARELY clicked purchase on an item faster than I purchased issue one of FACILITY, thank you for making me aware of it!
posted by Kwine at 6:44 AM on January 23, 2020

Protip: In major cities hotel lobby toilets are the best. Just walk in like you own the place.
posted by srboisvert at 6:47 AM on January 23, 2020 [13 favorites]

On the one hand, I'm glad there's codes for Philadelphia. Philly is often overlooked. On the other hand, I'm bummed there's no codes for anywhere in Queens, New York.
posted by SansPoint at 6:56 AM on January 23, 2020

"Bathrooms have codes?"

The code for the bathroom in my building is 5142. You'll have to figure out where the building is though.

They put the keypad on it last year because we're on the first floor of an unsecured building and I guess there were homeless people or other people that middle class white people would rather not see in their bathroom.

There are two camps here. There are those who think the code should be guarded at all costs, and then there are those of us who will give the code to anyone who asks because we will not deny someone if they need to pee or wash their hands.

Before they put the keypad on I had never seen anyone in the bathroom who didn't look like they belonged in the bathroom, but really anyone who is in a bathroom belongs there. The only person who should be locked out of the bathroom is the guy who always constructs an ass gasket out of paper towels and then leaves them there when he's done.
posted by bondcliff at 6:58 AM on January 23, 2020 [3 favorites]

NYC hotel lobbies are starting to key-code their bathrooms.
posted by MattD at 7:27 AM on January 23, 2020 [1 favorite]

NYC hotel lobbies that have bars and lounge-type areas (or dining areas that don't have a host stand) tend to be good options, as they'll be less likely to restrict access to the toilets. I have a list of prime spots around town - clean, comfortable, easily accessible, and free from hassle - that I usually share with visitors.
posted by theory at 7:53 AM on January 23, 2020

Bloomingdale’s Outlet at 72nd and Broadway: push 2 & 4 at same time, then 3

...and then cut the blue wire...but do NOT cut the red wire as it will alert the auto-cleaning droids.
posted by inflatablekiwi at 8:30 AM on January 23, 2020 [3 favorites]

In the not-very-well-kept bathroom of my former art studio, I found a zine (of the true hand-bound xeroxed variety) that was a guide/travelogue of the public bathrooms of (I think) Bishop, CA. It basically looked like two friends spent a night (8pm-6am) finding and reviewing all the restrooms they could get into.

It was surreal and charming in the best way. I read it over the course of a few weeks, and eventually claimed it for my zine collection.
posted by itesser at 8:38 AM on January 23, 2020 [2 favorites]

Somebody needs to overlay this precious data onto Google Maps. Any takers?

And yes, hotel lobby bathrooms are the best, but successful access, I think, requires one to be relatively well groomed and have a modicum of hauteur. Oh, heck, I'll just say it: And being white and older than 30.
posted by Jubal Kessler at 10:31 AM on January 23, 2020 [1 favorite]

Seems to be missing info on how to piss in the NYC rich people bookstores the thing's sold in.
posted by save alive nothing that breatheth at 10:43 AM on January 23, 2020

There is probably a market for custom code panels for places that want something a little more fancy. Like a Nintendo controller shaped pin panel where you have to enter the Konami Code (↑↑↓↓←→←→BA(Start)) to enter the bathroom. Feel free to steal my idea - I hate it already.
posted by inflatablekiwi at 12:13 PM on January 23, 2020

thivaia, I know the record store bathroom of which you truly was Cronenberg-level disgusting.
posted by Token Meme at 12:49 PM on January 23, 2020 [2 favorites]

There really, really needs to be a Cambridge/Boston edition of this magazine. And yes, for those who have asked: codes are absolutely a thing. I've found it to be part of the customers-only bathroom "culture," if you can call it that.
posted by Delia at 3:08 PM on January 23, 2020

The one pro-tip I've learned in my world travels is that McDonald's are reliable pee places. Sometimes you have to buy something and show the receipt to a Guardian, but they are almost always acceptably clean.
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 4:44 PM on January 23, 2020 [1 favorite]

> We had a not for public use bathroom at the record store, but like, use your discretion.

Same for the record store where I worked, but it wasn't that bad -- maybe because the staff was at least half women. We had a negative ionizer in there for a while, though, so while it smelt like a waterfall, in retrospect we might have all given ourselves lung disease.
posted by The corpse in the library at 5:51 PM on January 23, 2020 [1 favorite]

This probably won't interest anyone else, but I'm delighted to learn that CEPTIA (mentioned above) was founded by Ira Gessel (whose work as a mathematician I know well) and his brother in their teens. We solve problems!
posted by aws17576 at 7:06 PM on January 23, 2020 [2 favorites]

Sometimes you have to buy something and show the receipt to a Guardian

Or to use their full title, Guardian of the Clown's Thrones.
posted by Greg_Ace at 7:12 PM on January 23, 2020 [1 favorite]

Every city-dweller has their own mental map of usable bathrooms in the neighbourhoods they regularly visit. Just ask George Costanza.
posted by Paul Slade at 12:00 AM on January 24, 2020

There really, really needs to be a Cambridge/Boston edition of this magazine.

The worst tourist experience of my life was a day trip to Boston. Cold rainy day and I needed to pee and I just saw sign after sign of "no public toilet". I have never been back and am not particularly inclined to ever go as I now classify it as a city of heartless bladder busting jerks.
posted by srboisvert at 7:55 AM on January 24, 2020 [1 favorite]

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