In a park amid skyscrapers, a gem has emerged: a posh public bathroom that cost nearly $300,000, complete with freshly delivered flowers, imported tiles, classical music, and artwork, reports the AP. The free-of-charge, air-conditioned splendor, inspired by visits to the priciest hotels, is open to everyone, though it's expected to be used most often by visitors to New York City's Bryant Park. On Thursday, two bathroom attendants held toilet tissue that a park official cut as the inaugural ribbon for the high-tech facility housed in a landmarked Beaux Arts building behind the New York Public Library in Manhattan. The toilets, in 310 square feet divided between the women's and men's sides, are reopening after a three-month renovation.
The eye-popping, LED-illuminated elegance is unusual in a city where public toilets are scarce and generally grungy. The women's side has three toilet stalls, while the men's side has two stalls and three urinals, the same number as before the renovation. The facility can't be expanded because the space surrounding it is considered a scenic landmark. The public luxury was funded privately by the Bryant Park Corp., a not-for-profit that manages the city-owned park and works to improve business in the neighborhood, which includes Fifth Avenue. The bathroom is most often used by visitors to the leafy, grassy refuge of Bryant Park, which draws them with seasonal attractions that include a skating rink in winter, holiday shops, and outdoor movies on summer nights. (Read more New York City stories.)