restroom report

Secret Stalls and Wacky Waterfalls at 44

Like Fat Joe says: "Better grab an umbrella — I make it rain." Photo: Daniel Maurer

We didn’t think it got much more futuristic than the automated Japanese toilets at Morimoto, but then we heard of a stainless steel urinal that triggers a waterfall when you step up to bat. We were so intrigued that we ordered a $15 mint julep at the Royalton hotel’s 44 bar and waited until the coast was clear. Were these facilities worthy of being showered with praise?

Concept: The small, semicircular room is straight out of a nuclear submarine; perhaps the cascading water indicates a leak in the hull.

Privacy: Plenty, if you know to push one of the mirrored walls (actually hidden doors) and claim an isolation chamber-type stall. But absolutely none if you’re side-by-side at the urinal, which barely accommodates two and is as brightly lit as an operating table.

Amenities: None, really, unless you count the automatic hand dryer.

Drawbacks: By the looks of the floor, not everyone seems to understand that you’re supposed to aim into the water stream, not simply create one of your own. Washing up at the small marble sink, you’re just as close to the person next to you as you were at the urinal; at this point you might as well invite him back to your table.

Strategy: Unless you’re an exhibitionist, don’t go chasing waterfalls. It’s all about the stalls here.

Rating: — Daniel Maurer

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