New York City creates a Google Maps layer to fix the Big Apple’s bathroom issue

New York City creates a Google Maps layer to fix the Big Apple’s bathroom issue

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If you have a serious back condition like me, or you have an issue with your prostate (if male), or some other condition that has you looking for a bathroom every five minutes, a trip to New York City can be daunting. The last time I was in the Big Apple, even McDonald’s limited the use of the lone bathroom inside the fast food restaurant. Some places restrict the use of their bathroom to customers and some won’t let anyone outside of their employees use their toilet.

The city has started a new program called “Ur in Luck” that includes a layer for Google Maps that shows the location of 1,000 public bathrooms in the five boroughs. According to an official NYC press release, the bathrooms that show up on the layer are operated by “NYC Parks, DOT, the Metropolitan Transit Authority, New York City’s ‘privately-owned public spaces,’ and all three of the city’s library systems — the New York Public Library, the Brooklyn Public Library, and the Queens Public Library.”

Knowing that the bathrooms are being run by the aforementioned organizations brings hope that they will be cleaned regularly. The layer was just updated on June 3rd, 2024, and will be updated throughout the year. Keep in mind that Google has nothing to do with this map which is available on your phone. The map shows public bathroom locations in parks, libraries, privately owned public spaces, public plazas, and locations that have to do with NYC mass transit.


While Google has nothing to do with this layer, perhaps Google or Apple should be adding public bathrooms to the list of other things that you can quickly discover on their navigation apps. Right now, if you need a bathroom in any city, you could look for the nearest gas station, coffee shop or even a restaurant. But there is no guarantee that when you get to one of these places, you will find a bathroom open to the public.

Needing to find a bathroom in a hurry is something that we’ve all had to deal with at one time or another. But if you have a medical condition that doesn’t give you the ability to wait for a public toilet, using your phone to find a public bathroom right near you is a godsend.

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