Why is finding a basic necessity so difficult in New York City? You manage to find that t-shirt you've been looking for, you successfully navigate the subway system without getting lost, but finding a clean restroom while you're exploring the city can be an arduous task.
When you get the urge to go and you're on the go, try one of these options:
With locations on nearly every New York City block, this is an always popular option. The popularity means there might be a line, but the baristas are happy to give you the key whether you make a purchase or not. Starbucks NYC Locations.
Barnes & Nobles
Barnes and Nobles has locations throughout the city.
Located near the library on 42nd Street between 5th & 6th Avenues, when the park is open, I've found this public bathroom to be surprisingly clean, because there is always an attendant.
Grand Central is located off 42nd Street between Park and Lexington Avenues. You can find the public restrooms downstairs near the food court.
Any police station will happily let you use their bathroom. They are located throughout the city.
Angelica Film Center
Located at Mercer and Houston, you can access the restrooms in the café area -- which is open to everyone regardless of whether you are a ticket holder.
New School & Foundation Center
Both located on Fifth Ave. between 13th and 15th St. these are a hassle free choice when you're in the area.
Bed, Bath & Beyond and Old Navy
Both located on 6th Avenue near 18th Street, they offer a clean respite in the area.
Saks Fifth Avenue
A user writes: "Has a great ladies room -- It has a nice mirrored area to refresh your make-up and telephones and couches too."
Other than the dorms, any building with a NYU flag, which you can't miss when you're in the Washington Square area, will have accessible facilities. These work best if you can blend in as a student.
At 301 Park Ave the art deco decor is worth a peek, and if you are looking for a bathroom, it's a good choice between 49th & 50th Streets.
Located in the heart of Times Square at 1535 Broadway, the bathrooms here are top rate (& located on the 2nd floor) if you can blend in with the businesspeople and tourists that stay here.
The Royalton Hotel
Although it's rumored the doors aren't the easiest to open in these bathrooms/modern works of art, they're well worth a visit.
Soho Grand Hotel
Located on on Grand and West Broadway, where public toilets are scarce. Walk past the front desk and continue down the back corridor to find the bathrooms.
You have to wait for someone with a room key to go in or out and casually catch the door, but once inside, you can use the facilities.
If you have a favorite "public" restroom in New York City, you can email me at email@example.com and I'll add it to the list!