"You come here and pay a fee/For the privilege to pee" sings Penny Strong, a lead character in the distopian Broadway musical 'Urinetown'. But the 2002 Tony Award-winning production is not too far off from NYC of 2015: You have to pay to pee.
Bodegas and coffee shops throughout the boroughs are notoriously known to refuse access to bathrooms and no matter how many Starbucks open up offering free access to their toilets, there are simply not enough public bathrooms for the needy masses.
Enter Airpnp, which is in no way associated with the popular home-swap site. The app gives users access to restrooms all over the city, be they in a private home or a business, all for a price.
Launched in New Orleans in 2014 after a ban on Porta Pottis made for a crappy Mardi Gras, Airpnp now helps New Yorkers access a toilet that would otherwise be inaccesible without the app.
Anyone can list their bathroom at a desired price per use. Current examples include "Bk Photo Studio" in Bed-Stuy with "2 ply toilet paper" for $5 or a $0 listing by Flatiron's General Assembly for the "startup pooper."
The New York Post visited a “charming Carroll Gardens commode” in a “cozy loft-style bathroom” on Smith Street in Brooklyn, at the OrangeYouGlad graphic-design studio, using the complimentary services that can cost upwards of $20 at tourist-heavy locations like Little Italy.
Similar to social-powered apps, users can rate the services they recieved, but is the concept of walking into a stranger's home or business really safe? Users connect via Facebook (optional) and call the bathroom host before entering the facilities, but there still seems to be a level of sketchiness (or perhaps a high level of trust among New Yorkers) at peeing for a price in a stranger's bathroom.
In today's New York, New Yorkers can spare a square. For a price.