If you’ve spent any time in New York City, you know that clean, free public restrooms are almost nonexistent. And in midtown Manhattan, site of some of the busiest streets in the world, relief is frustratingly elusive.
However, in a brilliant marriage of public service and promotion, on November 20th Procter & Gamble’s Charmin brand toilet paper opened a public restroom in the heart of Times Square. Located in the Bertelsmann Building at 1540 Broadway, next to the Virgin Megastore, the Charmin restrooms are not only sparkling clean, they are actually entertaining.
The building, squarely in the center of a prime destination for millions of tourists and natives, has been staffed with dozens of cheerful hosts and attendants (many of them out-of-work actors and dancers) in blue and white uniforms.
Anticipating long lines, the planners equipped the waiting space with plentiful seating, plasma televisions, a disco-like stage where guests can sing and dance to the brand’s bouncy theme song, a nose-blowing lounge area stocked with boxes of facial tissues, a pair of fireplaces, stroller parking, tourist information and a photo corner for those who want a picture with Charmin’s mascot, a big, fuzzy brown bear.
The main attractions are even more impressive — 20 small, bright, private rooms, including some with disabled access and baby changing stations. All are equipped with sinks, soap and plenty of Charmin toilet paper and are hand-cleaned by an attendant after each use.
Sadly, this deluxe comfort palace is here only temporarily. Due to some baffling city ordinance or other, on December 31 the Charmin restrooms will close their doors forever. Unfortuately, it seems that sometimes even restrooms have to go.
Charmin in Times Square
The Procter & Gamble Company
NY Magazine: Charmin’s Times Square Toilets
YouTube: Charmin’s Times Square Bathrooms
USA Today: Charmin Rolls Out 20 Restrooms