McGolrick Park Crapper of Death
Today I made a lengthy sojourn to the far hinterlands of Greenpoint. I took a number of wonderful photographs during my trek, many of which have since been uploaded to my Flickr page. After reading this post, do check them out. After. Reading. This. Post. What follows is some life/dignity-saving information that you, dear readers, may find of interest.
Unlike a lot of people, I’m pretty tolerant of New York City public lavatories. When you live in a city with 8 million plus people, things are going to get pretty raunchy. This is an unavoidable fact of life.
In fact, I had a life-changing experience in one such public crapper: Washington Square Park. This is arguably one of the most disgusting public bathrooms New York City has to offer.
It was almost a decade ago.
It was my first trip to New York Shitty.
I was deciding upon which graduate school to attend— and I really had to go to the bathroom.
When I entered the Washington Square Park bathroom I was met with that special fetid piss cum ASS aroma that can only be had in such places. After some investigation I deduced that I was expected to select my allotted amount of toilet paper from the improvised ‘holder’ (made by stringing a chain across the front right-hand DOORLESS stall) before going to the bathroom. I got my t.p. and got down to it. No problem.
As I washed my hands I noticed there were no paper towels. Being an early adopter, I ventured back to the toilet paper cache to find a woman sitting on the can staring at me. I think it was a woman, who really knows— and I didn’t want to find out. As I grabbed a wad of t.p. she looked me squarely in the eye and grunted. LOUDLY. This was followed by the sound of two turds plopping into the toilet. Oh what a relief it is!
That’s when my friend/tour guide (from the Bronx) turned to me and said:
Welcome to New York.
Needless to say, I have been enamored of New York Shitty ever since. That moment inspired me to tell the Chicago Art Institute to go fuck themselves. Miss Heather went to school in New York*, and well, the rest is history (in the making, maybe).
Jump forward to today, March 14, 2007…
I loaded my backpack for my two-hour journey, and in so doing, I forgot my cardinal Greenpoint Golden Rule: always carry a pack of disinfectant baby wipes. By the time I had (almost) reached the Kosciuszko Bridge I realized I needed to go to the bathroom. I made a hasty retreat to McGolrick Park so I could patronize their facilities— and I damned near met my maker.
When I reached Monitor Street I knew I had a serious situation on my hands. I sprinted to the can and dropped trou. Then I noticed there was no toilet paper. None that I would care to use, anyway.
I grabbed my backpack and tore through it looking for a napkin, paper towel, handkerchief, ANYTHING I could use to wipe my ass. No such luck (schmuck), so I had to improvise a solution. I did, albeit through trial and error:
- ATM receipts: the slick photo-static paper make for poor absorption of fecal matter, as I discovered
- Post-It notes: much more absorbent, but still lacking
- a plastic lid from a take-out container: BINGO! Remembering what a good buddy of mine told me about going to college in the Soviet Union (and having no running water in her fourth floor dormitory bathroom), I realized had the raw material for an ad hoc bidet.
I high-tailed my ass to the sink, hydroplaned and almost slammed my head into a wall. In my enthusiasm I had forgotten that the park employees were thoughtful enough to mop the floor— but not enough so to DRY MOP afterwards.
This moment acquainted me with my own mortality— and pride. Unlike my husband, I am not a full-blown athiest. I probably qualify as being an agnostic. This is a good thing, as it makes me a little less of a hypocrite when I muttered:
God, please do not let me die here.
Being found with a fractured skull, shit-smeared ass and a take-out lid in the McGolrick Park women’s bathroom is NOT the way I want to go. Come to think of it, I can’t think of anyone who would like to die in this manner. For too many a good reason to go into here.
After regaining my senses (and traction) I headed to the faucet.
Ever tried operating/stabilizing a shitty faucet while filling a lid with water? Try it. You’ll find yourself exclaiming exactly what I did, or worse:
This is when I heard a roar of laughter from the room next to me. A room where two park employees were hanging out. This pissed me off. A LOT.
I’ll show them, I thought to myself. So I spent the next two minutes doing a bucket lid brigade so as to render my ass spotless. And I did.
Not having any porter to tip, I left my own (non-monetary) token of appreciation.
P.S.: Thanks Zoya!
*And had one of the most mind-blowingly intelligent and COOL teachers ever. Nayland Blake. Look him up.