The Best and Worst Men’s Rooms in New York City (After Midnight)

THE BEST:

The Stanhope Park Hyatt New York, Fifth Avenue

at East 81st Street . Use the one by the bar. Nice and clean. Hotels are good

in general, especially all those along Central Park South. Get in there no

problem, sit down, kick back for 45 minutes.

Hotel Belleclaire, West

77th Street and Broadway . Take elevator to ninth floor, turn left, go to

the roof. Nice view as you take care of business.

Paddy Maguire’s Ale House,

Third Avenue between 19th and 20th streets . Total privacy, clean. Take your

time in there. You can get away with the ladies’ room, too.

Dusk, West 24th Street

between Sixth and Seventh avenues . You can take a leak while watching the

people through the tinted window. A little bizarre, but somehow satisfying.

Manitoba’s, Avenue B

between Sixth and Seventh streets . That giant bolt lock. No one’s coming

in.

Bungalow 8, West 27th

Street between 10th and 11th avenues . Perhaps the best in Manhattan. Four

private rooms, one of them big enough to take a nap on the floor. Dark in

there. We like the black toilets with the dark toilet water. No one’s gonna

bang on the door because the cigarette girl outside will stop them. Take your

time.

Los Dos Molinos, East 18th

Street between Park Avenue South and Irving Place . Homey, clean, bring one

of those good margaritas in there, sit down and read all the cool wanted

posters on the wall, or gaze at the John Wayne painting above the can. The lock

wasn’t working the night we were there, but we were told it would be fixed.

THE WORST

The Village Idiot, 14th Street between Eighth

and Ninth avenues . No lock. Outhouse feel. Slidey floor. Vile.

Subway Inn, 60th Street and

Lexington Avenue . You come close to vomiting from the smell. Wear gloves,

do not sit downReal cheap drinks there, though.

Plug Uglies, Third Avenue

between 20th and 21st streets. No lock. No stall. No privacy. Cop bar. Look

out. Do whatever you gotta do fast.

Suite 16, corner of Eighth

Avenue and 16th Street. Two urinals, one long line for the stall. Attendant

watching everything, a major distraction that could lead to stage fright. For

privacy, pay off attendant with $8 pack of smokes, $2 tip.

The Liquor Store Bar,

corner of West Broadway and White Street. Only one bathroom. Big problem.

Someone’s always knocking on the door.

Baby Doll Lounge, corner of

Church and White streets . Be very wary of burly bouncers. When they shake

their heads at you, you’ll know the meaning of terror.

Vazac’s, corner of Seventh

Street and Avenue B. Bring back the lock! Move fast, keep back to door. If

you do get stage fright, no reason to be ashamed. We sometimes take care of

business outside between B and C. Ladies, we hear if you make out with the

bartenders, they’ll give you access to the basement bathroom.

-George Gurley

Spacemen Invade the East Side

Among the many ways Manhattan life has changed since Sept. 11:

It’s harder to drive a 54-foot-long rocket ship into Central Park. So learned a

group of space enthusiasts who want to transport the Canadian Arrow-a

three-person rocket ship just a shade under six stories tall-from Ontario to

New York on April 25 for a benefit party at the Explorers Club on East 70th

Street.

The benefit in question is a fund-raiser for the X Prize

Foundation, a competition promising $10 million to the first private company

that launches a rocket carrying three people into orbit, brings them back to

Earth and relaunches the same ship within two weeks. The Canadian Arrow is one

of the hopeful rockets in the running, and organizers of the $500-a-plate X

Prize fête, eager for publicity, wish to park the spaceship around the corner

from the Explorers Club, specifically the East 72nd Street entrance to Central

Park.

The trouble is, the Canadian Arrow looks scary as heck. Modeled

after the old V-2 ballistic missiles used by Nazi Germany-this design makes it

easier to transport via train and truck, its proponents say-the red-and-white

spacecraft resembles a prop left over from Dr.

Strangelove , nowhere near as cuddly as NASA’s puppy-nosed space shuttles.

The X Prizers seem to understand this. Even though they figure

that getting the permits to haul the Arrow to Manhattan will be easy-the ship

has no engines, no hazardous materials, and is already permitted to ride freely

in Canada-they know that the last thing rattled New York residents may want to

see driving down their block is a gigantic-missile-looking spacecraft

surrounded by police escorts.

“It’ll attract a lot of attention,” Canadian Arrow team leader

Geoff Sheevin said the other day. “Coming down to New York with a rocket on a

trailer, you’ve got to tell people about it, because you don’t want to frighten

anyone due to recent events.” Mr. Sheevin allowed that to the unsuspecting East

Sider, the appearance of the Canadian Arrow might be a “little ominous.”

Space junkies are nothing but optimistic, however, and another X

Prizer figured that instead of being a fright, the visit of the Canadian Arrow

could be a boon to city-spaceship relations. “This isn’t black humor,” said

Mike Parker, an X Prize board member. “This is something that can

recontextualize rockets in a way that’s very positive.”

As of Tuesday, April 9, New York City’s Department of Parks and

Recreation was still reviewing the application to stow the rocket in Central

Park. Meanwhile, Adeodato Ressi, another X Prizer, said his primary concern

wasn’t the park, but whether the Canadian Arrow would receive clearance to

enter the Lincoln Tunnel en route to the city. “These guys are looking for

suspicious vehicles, and we’re driving a goddamned missile through the tunnel,”

Mr. Ressi said. “If it doesn’t get stopped, I give up … I’m moving to L.A.”

-Gabriel Snyder