A writer from Scotland asks: What’s up with the WSP “portaloos”?

“Portaloos” in front of closed off old restroom building

Received this letter in the InBox yesterday:

Hi!,

I’ m  just back to scotland from a week in new york spending most of my time in greenwich village and therefore a lot of time in washington square park.

I just wanted to comment on how disgusting the portaloos are that are there temporarily while a new comfort station is built.

While portaloos might be a good idea,they should surely be kept cleaner. I used one once but would not go near them again. At least being a guy i didn’t have to sit down while using it.

I am a regular visitor to the city. God knows what first time tourists make of them.

I just wondered what you thought.

John A Learmonth.

I told Mr. Learmonth that I hadn’t used the bathrooms pre-redesign at WSP* (they really were in horrendous condition) and I don’t quite see myself venturing into the “portaloos,” especially now reading this account of how “disgusting” they are and apparently in need of more maintenance (something I’m certain is not fun to do).

Oh, and how about “portaloos?” Is that the perfect word? Apparently what they call them in Scotland. Our U.S. version “Port-o-potties” so pales in comparison.

It was a fight to get the portaloos there; there were no plans for them initially and then the Parks Department agreed to it and three very functional looking units arrived (CallAhead, they beckon). Reading an article recently about the glamourous perhaps overdone new $2 million rest rooms at Elmhurst Park, it was stated that they had “portable toilets” while the “edgy design” was being constructed. It didn’t sound like it had been an issue.

Anyway, has anyone else used them? Comments?

If you’re wondering what the new bathrooms at WSP will look like when Phase III construction is completed, the architectural plans call for an ivy-covered, trellis-topped “pergola.”

*Oh, and a tip of my top choices of nearby restrooms: Think Coffee, Lifethyme Natural Market, and even sometimes Starbucks Sixth Avenue.

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At the Park: There WILL be bathrooms while Phase III is under way, NY Dosas is here, and more

“port-o-potties” have arrived in front of ‘old’ bathroom location

In the wake of the news that there would be no replacement bathrooms while the existing rest rooms were under renovation during Phase III, the Community and park goers’ reaction was outrage. Well, kudos to the Parks Department (and I don’t get to say that often enough)– in this instance, they listened and responded. It’s hard to get too excited about portable toilets (although it was also hard to be enthusiastic about the state of the bathrooms as they were*) and I’m not sure if there could have been a better solution but … hey… it’s something. Three “port-o-potties” have appeared outside the location of the previous building.

Relocated park favorite NY Dosas

Vegan – and everyone’s – favorite cart vendor NY Dosas, featuring “South Indian Food,” has moved out a bit further on Washington Square South but he’s still there, construction and all! People were patiently waiting in line for his vegetarian crepes and $1 bottled water.

Vibrant flowers, eastern side.

Lone pigeon amidst the bustling fountain plaza.

* The rest rooms were the phase of the park that pretty much everyone in the community lobbied to be done first – they were in such dire state and falling apart. Now in year four of the redesign construction, they are now being replaced. The Parks Department almost purposefully left them for the very last.

WSP Redesign Phase III begins! No Restrooms for one Year? Asbestos Removal from Old Buildings, “Pergola” and New Mounds on the Way

Securing the new fence

Restrooms off limits for one year…

Tree protection remains inadequate…

At last, Phase III (well, technically IV) of Washington Square Park‘s dramatic, lavish redesign began last week! I’ve been working on updating the site so that’s taken some priority lately. Two park activists informed me on the same day that there will be no use of the park’s bathrooms for ONE YEAR while Phase III is ongoing (strange, eh? that replacement temporary units would not be put into play? Not that the WSP bathrooms have ever been a great priority to the Parks Department). The Villager finally began covering the redesign at this late stage and discovered that there is asbestos being removed from the three buildings that are being replaced. Those three small buildings – the men’s and women’s bathrooms and park administrative office – will all become one housed within a “pergola.” (Envision an upscale suburban train station.) As you can imagine, I attended more than a few meetings about Phase III and the new buildings and strangely (?) no one ever mentioned asbestos.

More to come…

Overview of Phase III

Landmarks Preservation Commission Resumes Phase III WSP on Tuesday, May 11th

Landmarks Preservation Commission on Phase III WSP: Tuesday, May 11th, Approximate time: 11:10 – 11:40 a.m., Be there by:10:25 a.m. Location: Landmarks Preservation Commission, 1 Centre Street, 9th floor, Manhattan.

Item to be discussed: 10-7129 – Block 549, lot 1-  Washington Square Park – Greenwich Village Historic District — A public park built in 1826 with subsequent alterations. Application is to construct a new building and install signage.

This is a continuation of the meeting held April 20th – addressing the bathroom/administrative buildings, and new signage – which had to be cut short because there was no quorum.