When duty calls it’s a call that can’t go unanswered, and we know all to well the unfortunate struggle of finding a public bathroom in NYC–people have even gone as far as creating a map of all the public bathrooms around the city to save you in those moments when you feel like you’re about to burst.
But, alas, when it comes to finding a bathroom the struggle is real.
Thankfully, the MTA is helping to fix this problem…at least a little bit. According to a press release, bathrooms at 18 subway stations across Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, and The Bronx will begin to reopen on a rolling basis beginning this coming Monday, July 3.
36 bathrooms will reopen in total, with the vast majority of bathrooms within the subway system being open to the public by Labor Day.
Prior to reopening the MTA utilized closures to perform needed maintenance including:
- New motion activated faucets
- New hand dryers, dispensers
- New/painted privacy panels
- New lighting
- Tile grouting
- New signage reflecting hours of operations
- Paint ceiling
- Deep cleaning efforts
“Reopening bathrooms is another way for New York City Transit to provide customers relief when they have to go on the go for a more comfortable experience in the subway,” said NYC Transit President Richard Davey.
NYC Transit began reopening public bathrooms following COVID-19 safety related closures earlier this year. The decision came as a result of the hiring of 800 cleaners late last year, according to NYC Transit President Richard Davey.
The first wave of restroom openings began in January at eleven stations, though these restrooms were only a fraction of the 133 total restrooms across 69 stations that were shuttered at the start of the Covid-19 outbreak in March 2020.
The MTA unlocked the subway station bathrooms about a year and a half ago at its commuter rail hubs, including Penn Station, Atlantic Terminal, and Jamaica on the LIRR, as well as at Grand Central Terminal on the Metro-North Railroad.
However, subway station bathrooms didn’t see as early of a reopening due to concerns regarding vandalism, illegal drug use, and other factors. MTA reps also reported not having the staff required to take care of the facilities as workers were concerned with the multi-million-dollar pandemic effort to disinfect train cars daily.
It was said that new maintenance staff, however, would be unionized under an agreement with labor leaders, and private security which were hired last September to target fare evasion are also now be responsible for keeping tabs on the toilets.
As other public restrooms in city parks and libraries began allowing people back in and Covid protocols were dropped, advocates began pushing the agency to unlock the bathrooms, especially since these public restrooms were one of the few options the city’s homeless population could rely on.
“Every day that goes by without access to these facilities is another day that people are forced to sacrifice their dignity or risk their health,” said Jacquelyn Simone, policy director at the Coalition for the Homeless back in October of 2022.
Stations to begin reopening on a rolling basis on Monday, July 3 include:
- 125 St (A, B, C, D)
- Hudson Yards (7)
- Sheepshead Bay (B, Q)
- Myrtle/Broadway (J, Z)
- 125 St (4, 5, 6)
- 96 St (Q)
- 18 Av (F)
- Rockaway Park – Beach 116 St (A, S)
- Pelham Bay Park (6)
- 5 Av & 53 St (E, M)
- Church Av (F)
- 179 St (F)
- 34 St – Herald Square (B, D, F, M)
- Brighton Beach (B, Q)
- Church Av (B, Q)
- Chambers St (1, 2, 3)
- Whitehall St (R, W)
- Jamaica Center – Parsons Archer (E, J, Z)
“These refreshed and reopened bathrooms…show that NYCT is committed to providing faster, safer, and better service to customers across the subway system,” said Davey.