People need to pee.
This is one of those basic facts of life.
You drink lots of:
Yes, you do.
And you're going to have to pee. And you're in New York City.
And if you don't know what you're doing, you're going to be in trouble.
NYC is a little different than most places you usually get stuck doing the my crotch hurts hop. First off: there aren't that many gas stations to pull into, sheepishly demand the key and hop in like you're a paying customer and everything is alright. True, there are gas stations. We need petrol too, but they're not going to give you that key unless you have a car, or a very sweet face. Second: public bathrooms are very few and far between. A few parks, yes. On the streets like in Paris? ...Hell no... In the subway?
So: what to do?
Well, here's your best bets:
- Where you drank all that Water, Beer, Coca-Cola, Tea, Coffee, Vodka, etc. I'm not kidding. Training yourself to use the restroom before you leave any establishment regardless of whether you actually need to or not saves you a lot of hassle.
- Bars. They're everywhere. They're dark. They're crowded. They're required to have a potty. It helps if you know the layout of the bar, but regardless - you can almost always get away with sneaking in and leaving quick. Even Windows on the World let me get away with it. And there was a nice gentleman there to hand me a towel when I was done washing my hands. He never knew I couldn't afford to buy a drink there and my friends weren't even allowed in...
- Department Stores are good for similar reasons. They don't usually have the best hours in the world, so if it's 2am and you're standing outside Macy's you're screwed, but for a nice daytime pee you're in luck.
- Fast Food Chains like McDonalds and Wendy's and Taco Bell usually have a small courtesy bathroom with a long line full of otherpeople not eating there. You can join it. Ignore the silly "customers only" sign - they don't care, you shouldn't either.
- If you're in the right neighborhood and in good with a small business they're usually pretty happy to let you... My tobacco store around Union Square has let me duck in for an emergency pit stop before: but I'm a regular customer and they like my business - find your own damn secret piss spot.
- Restaurants are best saved for a last ditch effort. They usually keep a good eye on who's in there. I've been forced to sit down a table with four friends who all badly needed to go, and wait for each in turn to get up and go potty while we all sat around, pretended to be interested in the menus and sipped more water (fools that we are). The waiter and manager were most displeased when we then told them we changed our minds and left. Ho hum.
- Finally, if all else fails and you're going to pop, you're going to have to find a decent spot in public. It's really not as bad as all that, and everyone else does it too at some point or another. If you're near Central Park or Prospect Park it's definitely easy to find an out of the way place behind some bushes. And then you just pretend you're camping. If not: alleyways are acceptable, and even those dark paths down the subway tunnels with the "Do Not Enter" signs work pretty well. Advice: avoid the third rail.