New Yorkers Inaugurate First Public Loo

Potty puns swirl at 'first flush' ceremony in Madison Square Park
By Caroline Zimmerman,  Newser User
Posted Jan 10, 2008 6:09 PM CST
Toilet paper was used instead of ribbon at the ceremony.    (Shutterstock)
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(Newser) – If you can't hold it on the streets of New York, it's no longer necessary to sneak into a cafe john, the Times reports. The city opened the first of 20 pay toilets today, complete with a toilet-paper-cutting inauguration and "first-flush" ceremony. Until today, New York was one of the few cities that didn't help "people cope with so basic a need," one historian said.

The city failed in attempts at installing public toilets in the past, but this time around New York has struck gold: Spanish giant Cemusa is actually paying the city for the toilets in a package deal. The self-cleaning potties are state of the art: For a quarter, you get 15 minutes before the door opens automatically. But no late-night emergencies: They close after 8 p.m.