October 10, 2000
1:36 PM   Subscribe

Finally, the promise of the internet realized. Your online guide to the best public toilets (by city). Memorize them all.
posted by thirteen (18 comments total)
the site doesn't look too wireless friendly, unfortunately.
posted by sudama at 1:56 PM on October 10, 2000

That really would make it better.
posted by thirteen at 2:28 PM on October 10, 2000

I love the exterior photographs. Makes it almost an architectural tour. Somehow, though, it seems wrong ....
posted by dhartung at 2:35 PM on October 10, 2000

Personally, I think it's a godsend. I moved to New York this year, and really, a site like this is worth its weight in ... in bladder pressure to someone who doesn't know the neighborhoods so well.

If they get a palm-downloadable version (maybe partner up with Vindigo or someone), watch the hit counters go through the roof.

(I'm only partly kidding here. -- Actually, I'm not kidding at all.)

It's a fundamental truth. Fish gotta swim, birds gotta fly, people gotta pee. Bless you, thirteen.
posted by chicobangs at 3:10 PM on October 10, 2000

Great, except I wasted a few minutes trying to click on the city names as they scrolled by, wondering why nothing was happening, and cursing the designer for creating such a stupid UI.

Then I realized I'd missed the point, and started cursing the designer for creating such a useless index page.

posted by Mars Saxman at 3:29 PM on October 10, 2000

Yeah, I found this site through rovenet.com, you can download a wireless version there. Only wish they had more cities! I thought the index/spash page was pretty cool - loads faster then flash (it's pure HTML).
posted by longshot at 5:11 PM on October 10, 2000

it would be cool if it was wireless friendly...

after an excruiating morning in chinatown in new york city last summer i swore that i would use my first few millions to buy a ground floor of a building there, have it very cold in the summer and very warm in the winter, put in toilets and water fountains and then charge admission...there were no public toilets anywhere except a broken one in a mcdonalds with a line of 50 women waiting for it to be fixed...i almost passed out! i bet i would make my money back in 6 months...
posted by centrs at 5:15 PM on October 10, 2000

Yeah but what if you're in Tokyo?
posted by davidgentle at 5:18 PM on October 10, 2000

a few years ago i was reading a book about being a new yorker. the author said that you can judge a new yorker by 1) the way he folds his copy of new york times in a crowded subway and 2) by his knowledge of accessible public restrooms in midtown.

while men are usually better at three-folding a copy of the times, women are miles ahead in their knowledge of midtown restrooms.

posted by tamim at 5:52 PM on October 10, 2000

no albuquerque! i guess i have to stick to 7-11.
posted by sugarfish at 6:11 PM on October 10, 2000

tamim: hmm, i'm glad i'm not a new yorker - i don't know what a three-fold would be like =) (i can only think of 2)
posted by pnevares at 10:31 PM on October 10, 2000

a couple simple tips for designing a site that's friendly to both wireless browsers/filters and screen readers for the vision impaired: put the content as near the top (i.e. as close to the start of the HTML file) as possible. if you're using tables to lay out your page, move navigation, links, sidebars, context etc. to the right-hand side. if you use CSS for positioning (mozilla, please hurry!), it's a simple matter to make sure the content appears way at the top of the code for the page. if you must use navigation on the top or left, counter-intuitive though it may seem, i would recommend using images (imagemaps are fine) with descriptive alt/title tags -- screen readers should handle this well, and a good wireless filter like avangto or wap.google.com can ignore the images and present the content right up front.

i designed randomWalks this way and it works as well as can be hoped for on both my palm and my cell phone.

it's good to know there is a wireless version of the site tho -- this will surely come in handy some day.
posted by sudama at 10:49 PM on October 10, 2000

This is truly a subject on which you can wax lyrical -- I mean, in between bouts of sheer agony when you're in Chinatown in New York and have to go. I'd like to take this opportunity to publically thank the Borders on 2nd Ave and 30th(?), the Strand on 12th St. and all the Barnes and Noble all over the place for having saved my life on occasions too numerous to count. Guys, you know who you are; you know you mean more than just books to me.

To give this thread an international flavor, I'd just like to point out the wonderful Pissoires of Paris which, although no longer with us, were for me during the Eighties the most immediate sign of a thoughtful and just society. Everyone would have their favorite pissoire. Henry Miller had his in front of the School for Deaf-Mutes on the corner of Rue St. Jacques and Rue Abbé de l'Epée. In Rome, on the other hand, there was the Vespasiani -- an allusion, it was said, to the jars orginally set up by the emperor Vespasian. Judging by their state, it appeared that they also dated from the time of the emperor Vespasian. There were only one or two. I can't imagine they're any more left. The best place to piss in the world was Berlin which had an embarrassment of riches as far as public bathrooms were concerned. At all the major U-Bahnhöfe and other strategic points throughout the city, there was a place to do your business. That's Gemutlichkeit!

posted by leo at 12:08 AM on October 11, 2000


(The ones in Paris are gone? When'd that happen? Damn.)
posted by chicobangs at 10:12 AM on October 11, 2000

I'm not showing off. Getting to know these bathrooms was a matter of life and death.

As far as the pissoires parisiennes are concerned, many were replaced by those modern WC cubicles where you have to pay a franc to get in. They stand up along the blvds like futuristic telephone booths. These newer models, more convenient for women (when working), were already replacing the old style ones during the Eighties. Henry Miller's favorite peepee station for example was no longer there when I pulled in to do hommage to it and that must have been late Eighties-early Nineties.
posted by leo at 10:45 AM on October 11, 2000

Yes, the pissoirs were a bit too public and unsanitary for the 21st century. At least Paris has a solution ... both New York and Chicago have flirted with the idea of licensing those Euro-nals, but it never actually happens.
posted by dhartung at 11:21 AM on October 11, 2000

On the topic of wireless friendly, and completely off-topic for the thread (people are interested, I'll find a hook to hang it on and move it to the front page), I'm delving into Zope. I'm submitting a proposal for a 6 website cluster to a company I work with, and Zope seems worth the work to learn.

The semi-pertinent part of this is that you can impose on the people who design your pages what the overall design should be, and that can be based on the browser making the request ... which suggests that if you have navigation routines which are useful in the wireless environment, you could base their use on the calling browser. I know that's possible with other CMS style systems, too, but I don't know if they'll conveniently let you reserve control over it to the site designer, without allowing the page designer/editor types to touch the (choice of) navigation.

Looks sorta spiffy.

In the unlikely event there are any Zopista's hanging out in the crowd, I'd like to pick your brains... off "list".
posted by baylink at 11:59 AM on October 11, 2000

Back to the *original* topic at hand, have you all checked out urinal.net?
posted by faisal at 1:52 PM on October 11, 2000

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