NYC creates map of public restrooms, announces plan to build more bathrooms

June 4, 2024

New Yorkers know the struggle of finding a public bathroom, with just around 1,100 public toilets for over 8.6 million residents. To address this ongoing issue, Mayor Eric Adams on Monday launched “Ur in Luck,” a new effort to expand public restroom accessibility across the five boroughs by building 46 new public restrooms and renovating 36 existing ones over the next five years. The city is also making it easier to find public restrooms by adding a new layer to Google Maps that New Yorkers can use to locate publicly accessible restrooms.

The city will open or renovate 10 restrooms in the Bronx, 23 in Brooklyn, 28 in Manhattan, 14 in Queens, and seven on Staten Island. Renovations to the 36 existing restrooms will deliver improvements like additional stalls, accessibility upgrades, and energy-efficient features. The new and upgraded bathrooms will add to the 1,000 restrooms already located across the city.

Additionally, the city is establishing a joint task force to fast-track approvals for 14 new self-cleaning public toilets on city sidewalks and plazas

“New Yorkers deserve accessible, well-maintained public restrooms — and we’re delivering. NYC Parks is leading the way with innovative initiatives and partnerships to build these vital public resources more quickly and efficiently,” NYC Parks Commissioner Sue Donoghue said.

“By creatively bringing new and improved bathrooms to New Yorkers throughout the five boroughs, we’re ensuring that visitors to our parks can access the amenities they need, when they need them.”

The struggle to find a public bathroom in New York has been documented by Teddy Siegel, an opera singer and founder of got2gonyc, an online effort dedicated to sharing public and accessible bathrooms across the five boroughs. Siegel creates videos on TikTok and Instagram sharing bathroom tips. Her crowd-sourced bathroom map has become Google’s largest and most-used map, according to Fast Company.

“I have learned through my Got2Go community that New York City’s lack of public restrooms is not only a quality of life and public health issue, but it is an equity crisis,” Siegel, who joined the mayor during Monday’s announcement, said in a statement. “The city’s action to tackle this pressing issue is a huge step and will improve the lives of all New Yorkers and tourists!”

The city’s Google Map layer marks restrooms operated by NYC Parks, the Department of Transportation, the MTA, the city’s “privately-owned public spaces,” and all three public library systems. The layer will be updated biannually to include any new locations that come online. See it below:

And this month, a new advertisement series will be displayed on LinkNYC kiosks and on taxi TVs through September, instructing New Yorkers on how to use Google Maps to find a restroom.

In May, NYC Parks finished its expansion of new baby changing tables to all public restrooms in city parks where possible, more than three years ahead of schedule. In the past five months, NYC Parks has opened new public restrooms at:

  • Bronx Point/Mill Pond Park, The Bronx
  • Starlight Park, The Bronx
  • Wyckoff House Park, Brooklyn
  • Frederick Johnson Playground, Manhattan
  • Highbridge Park Adventure Playground, Manhattan
  • Maspeth Park, Queens
  • Lopez Playground, Staten Island

Data concerning the city’s public restrooms will be accessible through Open Data, allowing the public to develop their own tools and perform analyses using a single, dependable, and regularly updated data set.

The launch of the new bathroom campaign comes shortly after the City Council urged city agencies to complete the addition of 151 new public restrooms across the five boroughs, as required by a bill signed in 2022. Since the bill’s passage, the city has only constructed 55 of the planned 151 public restrooms, according to the New York Post.


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