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.