The Do-It-Yourself Public Restroom in Times Square

Filed under good times at everyone else's expense, living in new york is neat, potty mouth

Last night at 8 p.m., Kamran and I exited a movie theatre in Times Square, accompanied by our friends Jack, Beth, and Nik, Jack’s friend Chris, Jack’s friend Alex from Romania, and Alex’s Romanian girlfriend, Simina. We were walking down 42nd Street, trying to decide which is scarier: the flesh-sucking monsters we’d just seen in Zombieland or NYC tourists. Mid-conversation, out of the corner of my eye, I saw someone bent over with liquid spilling all over her legs and the ground. She was out in the street, facing traffic, with her back to the sidewalk we were on, and I just assumed she was vomiting. She had wavy, shoulder-length black hair and a black suit jacket on. Her bottom half was nude-colored, but I just assumed she was wearing peach leggings. I couldn’t imagine a middle-aged woman wearing leggings without a long shirt covering them, but that seemed much more likely than what was actually happening, which was that


In Times Square. Which, if you’ve never seen it, is basically the center of the world. We’re talking thousands of people milling around a few blocks at all hours of the day and night, with enough lights on every building to make it seem as if the sun never sets. And mostly people who don’t live in NYC, which means a woman with her pants down in the street is about the most exciting thing they’ve ever seen. Traffic was stopped right in front of her, so people in cabs had their noses pressed to the glass not two feet away from her bare bits. The lights glared off the urine clinging to her flabby backside. People stopped and pointed her out to each other, and Kamran yelled for me to get my camera out.

But it was too late. She finished, pulled her pants up, and walked into the subway unashamed.


  1. Beth says:

    Oh. My. GOD.

    I want to know if while she was getting dressed that day if she thought to herself, you know, I should wear that black suit jacket because I want to look respectable when I pee all over myself in public later.

    • I really wonder. And this is Times Square! It’s not like there aren’t 400 public restrooms around there. Anthony thinks she was making a political statement about capitalism, but . . . I think she was just crazy.

  2. Sandy says:

    I guess if you’re gonna pee on yourself in public it doesn’t matter, but all I can think about is her pulling her pants up over her urine-soaked legs. Barf.

    • Me, too! As soon as we walked away, I told Kamran, “Now I understand why all homeless people smell like pee.”

      It doesn’t explain why the other 99% of New Yorkers smell that way, though.

  3. thickcrust says:

    That’s better than the time I saw a man using a public telephone as a urinal. But since I actually got a PICTURE of it, that might make my experience better.

  4. 1. I freely admit that if I saw a woman peeing in the street, it would be at LEAST in the Top Ten Most Exciting Things Kel Has Ever Seen. I would’ve stood there slack-jawed like the annoying tourist I am.

    2. Ever since I read this, I’ve been making up stories in my head about the circumstances under which one might pee in the street.

    None of the are as yet satisfactory.

  5. Mike Lowrey says:

    Sometimes you gotta do what ya gotta do.

    Those Corona’s will run right through you…

  6. anne says:

    Downtown Columbus about 5 years ago, 10pm, late fall. I was leaving a bar with a friend. We saw a woman sitting on a bus stop bench across from the Elevator Bar. Not under the bus stop shelter roof, but next to it.

    She started peeing right through the slotted bench onto the sidewalk. It was cold and you could see the steam. She was wearing a skirt, and I assumed no underwear (or was just peeing thru it.) I never sit on COTA benches anymore.


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