Monday, January 3, 2011

Why were all the bathrooms closed?

I have enough customer service experience to know that the difference between a reasonable request and coming across as a complete nut job could be quite thin. I don't particularly like writing complaints because more often than I get the same bland response. However, I had to complain about the bathroom situation yesterday.

If you plan to walk several miles in the city, you must either have a bladder made of steel, don't mind going to Starbucks and other private venues or rely on public restrooms. OK, there's a fourth choice which I won't mention. The last option, however, is haphazard at best in New York City, where the parks are chronically underfunded (except for the deluxe bathroom at Bryant Park, which has to cost a pretty penny to maintain.)

Yesterday, I tried my luck going to seven different bathrooms. It was a Sunday, not the ideal day to go to the parks, but as weather goes in January, 53 degrees isn't too shabby. Shockingly, the seven bathrooms I tried to visit were all closed.

Thankfully the restrooms at Costco and Gantry Plaza State Park were fully functional.

I wrote the following complaint to the Parks Department, with a copy to a couple of council members. The former have been pretty good in at least addressing my complaints in the past, so I'll update with their response.

As a taxpayer, I was deeply disappointed and upset to find the bathrooms closed in eight different parks and playgrounds yesterday, Sunday January 2. Were people not supposed to visit park this Sunday? I would like an explanation as to why all these parks had their bathrooms shut down.

Here are the parks and the time I found out they were not open to the public:

Ditmars Park - 9:40 a.m. CLOSED
Woodtree Playground - 10: 25 a.m. CLOSED
Charybdis Playground, Astoria Park - 11:30 a.m. CLOSED
Hallets Cove Playground  - 12:14 p.m. CLOSED
Socrates Sculpture Park - 12:30 p.m. CLOSED
Rainey Park -  12:45 p.m. CLOSED
Queensbridge Park - 1:10 p.m. CLOSED
American Playground - 3:25 p.m. CLOSED


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