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Porcelain New York

Plumbing the Depths of the Manhattan Criminal Court System (Bathrooms)

The facilities of 100 Centre Street might not meet the exacting standards of Donald J. Trump.

Bathroom of 100 Centre Street

(Hell Gate)

Being in criminal court, one might think that one has other things on the mind than the relative comfort and cleanliness of the nearest bathroom. If you're walking the shabby halls of 100 Centre Street because you have a court date, you are likely having the sort of day that cannot be redeemed by a sparkling and thoughtfully laid out restroom.

On the other hand, people care about bathrooms! Last Tuesday, the Manhattan Criminal Court building was graced by the presence of an actual former U.S. President and putative billionaire and media personality. And not just any president/putative billionaire/media personality, but one who is legendary both for a mincing fastidiousness and germaphobia and also for a hard-driving style that demands strength, endurance, and rugged capability from his bathroom fixtures.

Trump might not feel the need to visit the bathrooms of Manhattan Criminal Court, but if he did—what would he think? Would they meet his exacting standards? A visit seemed in order. 

Tucked away on the north end of the courthouse's second floor, the exterior of the public men's room gives few hints on what awaits inside, aside from a slightly dinged-up vent panel on the bottom of the clearly many-times-repainted door. 

Stepping inside, the first thing that struck a visitor last Tuesday was not visual at all, but olfactory—a powerful and front-loaded presentation of a strong bleach. Trump would doubtless appreciate the fact that the prevailing odor carried nary a hint of stale piss. He might appreciate the implicit assurance that many surfaces in this space have recently been rendered inhospitable to microbial life. 

Not great, could be worse. (Hell Gate)

As this reporter's body acclimatized to the high concentration of chlorine in the atmosphere, other details came to the fore— a disquieting stickiness to the floor tiles; one toilet stall that was retrofitted for easy access through the removal of its door; another, occupied for several hours across multiple visits Tuesday morning by a gentleman whose effects were strewn over the privacy barrier. 

Pros: Toilet paper supplies were adequate. The toilets available for testing all flushed manfully, though Hell Gate did not conduct a full stress-test of their capacity for flushing sensitive documents or the cataclysmic fecal eruptions of an unhealthy man who subsists primarily on McDonald's. 

Computer: Enhance (Hell Gate)

Cons: Tiles behind the various toilets bore a richly layered texture of milky grime. Stalls, doors, and other panels were ornamented with art, the names of previous passers-through, and messages: "Fat Jay." "Fuck 12."

Some tiles near the sinks were missing, but all sinks functioned well, though one sink, recently retrofitted with a Dyson Airblade fixture, proved deceptively complicated to operate even with the provided documentation, as some arms of the apparatus expressed compressed air and others water, and how one triggers either mechanism is less than self-evident. 

Baffling. (Hell Gate)

Fixtures were in the main composed of stainless steel. (No gold.)

All things considered, the bathroom was hardly the worst public bathroom reviewed by Hell Gate, but neither would it place in the first or even second quintile. Trump, whose arraignment took place on the building's 15th floor, was unlikely to use these facilities, but if he did, perhaps, on his way out, or on another visit, may well have been disappointed. 

Porcelain New York rating of the Manhattan Criminal Court 2nd Floor Men's Room: 4.2

Do you know of a public bathroom that Hell Gate should review? Let us know! Send an email to tips@hellgatenyc.com with “PNY” in the subject line.

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