Restroom Report

Hanging in the Box’s S&M Restrooms

The ladies (left) have it a little better than the gents.Photo: Mike Duva
During the year and a half Simon Hammerstein spent converting a former abattoir (and later, sign factory) into his dinner theater the Box, he hauled in an imposing set of doors from an insane asylum using his pimpmobile. We suspected the restroom décor would be similarly eccentric, and sure enough, the door to the wheelchair-accessible ground-floor WC comes from an old public schoolhouse. Then again, we’ve seen that before. The real action lay on the other side of the portals found down a narrow staircase, and at the end of the same sconce-lit hallway that leads to dressing rooms intended for circus freaks, S&M; performers, and acrobats — whenever the place finally opens, that is.

Concept: Vaudeville theater meets gay speakeasy, with Edison lights, pixelesque tiled floors, and peeled mix-and-match wallpaper ranging from velvet flat imported from England to cheap stuff from Chinatown.

Privacy: In the ladies’ room a row of floor-to-ceiling stalls ensures seclusion. In the men’s room, however, the two toilets are barely guarded by a handsome wooden privacy-barrier from an old prison.

Amenities: Women get a small makeup mirror in each stall. In the one on the far left, an S&M; crossbar hangs (handcuffs and more are promised). Ceiling speakers bring on the music.

Drawbacks: An attendant lurks in the small men’s room; at least he’ll soon be stocked with a more bespoke version of the regular toiletries.

Strategy: To avoid a line, convince one of the performers to let you use the dressing-room facilities. Their wallpaper of a Hawaiian beach scene is a refreshing change.

Rating: — Daniel Maurer

What’s in the Box? [NYM]

Hanging in the Box’s S&M Restrooms