Population Statistic: Read. React. Repeat.
Sunday, April 18, 2021

Because you can navigate a metropolis only as far as your “bladder leash” will allow, it’s not unusual to develop an appreciation for the nuances in New York’s wide range of public bathrooms:

The city’s parks include hundreds of spots to heed nature’s call, each with its own character: the splendid isolation of the north end of Meadow Lake in Queens, where the sparkling new restrooms are surrounded by cherry trees, but not people; the user-friendliness of the Picnic House in Brooklyn’s Prospect Park, where the basement hallway leading to the toilets includes soda machines and a newspaper stand, in case you decide to stick around for a while; the mechanical weirdness of the high-tech pay toilet in Madison Square Park, intended as the first of many and now stranded like a lost visitor from another planet. But none can compare to the grace, the elegance, the downright untoiletness of the public restroom in Bryant Park.

I can vouch for the characterizations of those last two pitstops. Bryant Park’s fancy-schmancy facilities almost seem out of place, even accounting for the park’s well-attended image. Meanwhile, Madison Square’s kiosk-like crapper kinda screwed me a couple of weeks ago, when I waited in line for it for five minutes before I realized that I didn’t have the spare change needed to operate it. (Left unsaid: The ever-present trepidation that stems from all public toilets’ dual role as lingering hangouts for the homeless.)

I’d have to go with the restrooms at Central Park’s Bethesda Fountain as NYC’s publicly-accessible best. Not that I’ve ever relieved myself there. But I did once attend a theatrical play that was staged right amongst the stalls and urinals therein, so for that reason alone, it wins.

by Costa Tsiokos, Sun 04/18/2010 09:20 PM
Category: New Yorkin'
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The eruption of Iceland’s Eyjafjallajokull volcano has created a paradoxical situation in the skies above Europe: While the offending mass of volcanic ash compelled a near-total grounding of air travel across the Continent, it’s also caused unexpected climactic serendipity.

Southampton Airport has announced this morning, Thursday 15 April, that all Flybe flights have been cancelled for the day due to the volcanic ash drifting across the UK from Iceland – and yet the weather in Hedge End is beautiful and the sky a lovely clear blue!

Others have noticed the lack of ever-persistent vapor trails from the usual jet traffic. And because the Eyjafjallajokull spew is too high in the atmosphere to be seen from ground level, the expected billowing of vulcan clouds hasn’t happened. The result: Open skies, in all senses.

It’s ironic that a continent-sized spread of natural exhaust was needed to eliminate (temporarily) the unsightly man-made variety. A nice side effect of an otherwise disastrous event.

by Costa Tsiokos, Sun 04/18/2010 08:07 PM
Category: Science, Society, Weather
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