Press Releases

Press Release #08-002

Contact: Seth Solomonow (212) 442-7033

City Unveils First Public Toilet of Street Furniture Franchise

Project Generating Over $1 Billion in Revenue for New York City

Deputy Mayor Daniel L. Doctoroff and City Department of Transportation (DOT) Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan today unveiled the first of 20 Automatic Public Toilets (APTs) to be installed under the City's Coordinated Street Furniture Franchise with Cemusa, Inc., in Madison Square Park, Manhattan. The 20-year contract also calls for Cemusa to build and maintain 3,300 new bus shelters, 330 newsstands, 37 Sheltered Bike Parking Structures and provide $1.4 billion in new revenue to New York City. Parks Commissioner Adrian Benepe and Cemusa North America CEO Susan Baron also joined in the announcement.

“New York City offers some of the best public amenities in the world, including one of the great networks of parks, an incomparable subway system and fantastic public art, but despite numerous attempts in decades past, public toilets on our streets-a welcome amenity in other cities around the world-have eluded us…until today,” said Deputy Mayor Doctoroff. “What a relief! Our beautiful new bus shelters and newsstands have made our streets more modern and attractive, and now the public toilets will add a level of convenience and comfort that is long overdue.”

“There have been a lot of firsts in New York City, and today will be remembered as 'first flush',” said Commissioner Sadik-Khan. “This is the very first permanent public toilet to be installed by the City, and New Yorkers have waited a long time for this practical public amenity. Thanks to this contract, and to the immeasurable efforts of the City Council, this is yet one more example way that New York City is becoming more livable, and we are gratified by this and all of the exceptional facilities Cemusa has already delivered under this contract.”

Since June 2006, Cemusa has installed 1,010 new bus shelters and 39 new newsstands citywide, and the city's first four Sheltered Bike Parking Structures are now in place in four boroughs. The franchise has already delivered $118,460,000 to the city, and by manufacturing at least half of all franchise structures locally, Cemusa has helped to create more than 150 jobs in New York City. Cemusa has also provided the City with valuable advertising space on its street furniture in cities around the world, which the City has used to promote itself as a tourism destination.

“Anyone who has spent time walking around Manhattan knows how difficult it can be to find a bathroom," said Speaker Christine C. Quinn. "These new toilets, in addition to their solid, modern design, will add a new level of convenience to the downtown experience in New York City. I am grateful to Commissioner Sadik-Khan, former Deputy Mayor Doctoroff and the hardworking men and women of Cemusa for making APTs a reality."

Like all of the new street furniture, the APTs have a simple, contemporary design, created for the City by Grimshaw Architects, incorporating stainless steel and tempered glass. The APTs clean themselves after each use, and tamper-proof automatic doors that open from the inside will ensure security.

The APTs cost 25 cents to operate, with a time limit of 15 minutes and will be open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Each APT is climate-controlled and includes a toilet, a wash basin with running warm water, and a mirror. An automated system controls the door and prevents unauthorized entrance, and the APTs are fully compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act.

After 12 minutes of use, an acoustic alarm and red flashing lights go off for three minutes before the door opens. Once a user has exited, the APT doors will close and the 90-second automatic cleaning cycle will begin. During the cleaning cycle the interior surfaces of the APT are cleaned and dried. Once the self-cleaning process is complete, a new user can access the APT.

“In recent years, Parks has been in the business of helping New Yorkers do their business by opening and renovating comfort stations in parks across the city,” said Parks & Recreation Commissioner Adrian Benepe. “But today we are thrilled welcome an APT to Madison Square Park in 'loo' of a comfort station. What better place to be when nature calls than in a park. Madison Square is a park of “firsts”-first baseball game, first home of the Statue of Liberty-and now the first APT in the City's new street furniture franchise will offer a high tech amenity to park visitors- a clean and safe place to go when they have to go.”

“Cemusa is pleased to bring this needed convenience to New York City,” said Cemusa North America CEO Susan Baron. “We are confident that New Yorkers throughout the five boroughs will appreciate the functionality, advanced technology, and elegant design of the APTs.”