The MTA will reopen bathrooms at nine subway stations on Monday, the agency announced, bringing relief to riders forced to hold it in for years of closures.
At least one station in each borough will see its restrooms opened once more for the first time since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, and in the interim, the hubs for business-doing were outfitted with new paint jobs, grouting, and lighting, plus motion-activated faucets and hand dryers.
The male and female restrooms at the nine stations, however, will be open half the day, from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., the MTA says — with a one-hour closure from noon to 1 p.m. for cleaning.
“The pandemic created many challenges to providing faster, cleaner, safer service in the transit system,” said NYC Transit President Richard Davey in a statement. “But as ridership continues to rebound, we’re pleased to provide relief to customers by reopening some bathrooms across the transit system. When customers have got to go on the go, we’ve now got them covered at select stations.”
The move comes just over two months after the MTA revealed it would reopen some bathrooms for public use, more than two years after the MTA closed all 133 bathrooms at 69 of its stations, ostensibly to curb the spread of COVID-19.
As the city and transit system recovered from COVID, MTA honchos did not see bathroom restoration as a priority, preferring to focus on the trains and buses. But politics and budgets can’t compete with the call of nature, and the bathrooms’ closure in a city desperately lacking in public loos meant problems downstream; the MTA is now exploring using tech that can detect when an elevator is used as a urinal.
Shuttering subway bathrooms also meant one fewer place of relief for New York’s homeless population.
Bathrooms will reopen at the following stations:
Bronx: 161st Street–Yankee Stadium (B/D), East 180th Street (2/5)
Brooklyn: Jay Street-Metrotech (A/C/F), Kings Highway (B/Q)
Manhattan: 14th Street-Union Square (4/5/6), Fulton Street (A/C), 42nd Street-Bryant Park (B/D/F/M)
Queens: Jackson Heights-Roosevelt Avenue (E/F/M/R), Forest Hills-71st Avenue (E/F/M/R)