McCarren Park Bathroom: Imitation of Gentrification*
* Gowanus Lounge called my tale this and I liked it so much I changed the title.
A few months ago I wrote a post which (among many other things) bemoaned the presence of bar soap at the women’s restroom at McCarren Park. I patronized these facilities (again) this week and am pleased to report that this disturbing indicator of gentrification has since been ‘corrected’. In fact, the new developments at this public bathroom are noteworthy enough to merit dissemination to the general public.
Thursday, August 10, 2006
After walking for over an hour and guzzling copious amounts of water and iced tea, I needed to go to the bathroom. I assessed the situation and deduced that McCarren Park had the closest facilities. Upon entering the bathroom I encountered the fetid and dank smell that is the hallmark of all New York City public bathrooms. This was encouraging.
I attempted to enter the stall on the right, but for a number of (very good) reasons I opted for the left one instead.
The left-hand stall opened more readily, but toilet paper was chained to it as well.
After completing my business, I go to the sink to wash my hands.
No soap whatsoever was to be found, but paper towels were plentiful and the garbage can was still tethered to the sink with chains.
I relayed these observations to my husband last night.
Husband: God, what kind of world do we live in?
Me: What do you mean?
Husband: A world where you have to lock up toilet paper so people won’t steal it.
Me: The people who steal toilet paper are not the ones who upset me; the ones who see fit to make toilet paper theft-proof do.
Me: I have been poor (READ: a temp) many, many times. The meager paychecks I got didn’t cover the cost of living. There was no way I could afford rent, student loan payments, FOOD, and sundries like toilet paper on $10.00 an hour. I coped by eating all the free food I could find (Internet start-ups
are were always good for that) and filching the occasional roll of toilet paper. If someone steals toilet paper, he/she really needs toilet paper. It is cruel to deny the needy toilet paper and the people who do so are truly evil in my book.
Husband: (nods in agreement)
After getting this crumb of affirmation, I got on my (semi-illucid, but well-intentioned) soap box…
Me: Take the bar of soap I found a couple of months ago at McCarren Park. That really pissed me off.
Me: First it’s a bar of soap in the public bathroom and before you know it you have concerned parents raising holy hell because there are rats in the park.
Me: Remember when we went to Cobble Hill (Carroll Gardens?) and saw that group of concerned parents who rented an inflatable rat to protest the presence of rats at their local park?
Me (working myself into a frenzy): That was a load of shit— and a gross misuse of the ubiqitous inflatable rat. I have been to that park several times; the first time I used the women’s room there they had bar soap.
Me: The second time I went they not only had bar soap, but I had to use the women’s bathroom while a nanny/lackey presided over a little boy using the toilet. This child was at least 10 years old. I am certain he was very capable of going on his own… in the men’s bathroom!
Me: The third time I went they had that fucking rat. Do you honestly think the nanny I saw the previous time was “on the books”? Do you think the family (or families) who employ her are paying a competitive wage, social security taxes, etc? I seriously doubt it— and that’s why it pisses me the hell off that they are using the scab-busting inflatable rat to protest the presence of rats in their precious park! Rats, I might add, that I have never seen! Fucking hypocrites.
My monologue went on…
Me: Complaining about the presence of rats in New York City is like going to France and getting angry because it is populated with Frenchmen.* Where people are to be found you will also find rats, it doesn’t take a fucking rocket scientist to figure that out. If they were so damned upset about rats they should:
- dispose of their (children’s) food properly and not let little Lincoln (or Meghan) dribble ice cream all over place
- move somewhere that does not have rats (good luck) OR
- grow up and deal with it!
Remember when our neighbors were barbequing and got really drunk last year? It had to be at least 1:00 a.m. when I heard a woman shriek “OMIGAWWWWD, a RAAAT!”** That’s when I pulled you to the window and we watched her (VERY) drunk boyfriend chase it around with a 2 by 4. That was funny as hell.
Husband: Yes it was.
Rats are the foundation for a healthy marriage. Not only did my husband and I enjoy watching this melee (if you’re wondering, our neighbor finally ‘nailed’ it and apologized to us for making so much noise), but after we eloped at Brooklyn Municipal Hall, we announced our marriage by sending out pictures of us standing in front of an inflatable rat that happened to be next door.
There is a point (maybe two) to be found in the previous, hell if I know exactly what it is. But if I had to hazard a guess I’d say that I am happy that McCarren Park bathroom is utterly revolting (and bereft of soap). Because when the inflatable rat shows up here it will mean that I need move somewhere else. Fast.
*This is/was not intended to be a slur against France or French people; French people live in France, rats live in New York City. Simple as that.
**Gotta love that sexy Long Island honk!