NYU’s 25 W. 4th Basement Woman’s Restroom Won’t Be Renovated Until 2013

One of the wobbly stalls in the basement woman's restroom at NYU's 25 W. 4th St. Many female students feel the restroom is in need of renovation.

The ladies restroom in the basement of New York University’s building at 25 W. 4th Street has eight stalls, but there’s still a line to get in at different times: that’s because one of them has a broken door, another’s door can’t be opened and two more are so wobbly that women would rather wait for an adequate facility. And it seems like they’ll have to wait two more years for true relief — that’s when renovations are scheduled.

Tisch School of the Arts senior Allie Pfeffer said her experience in that bathroom has been terrible.

“This is the worst woman’s restroom I’ve seen at NYU,” she said. Pfeffer added that many of the stalls aren’t functioning because the doors don’t close completely. “There are so few stalls that are actually usable that the line that forms is very long and very slow,” she said.

College of Arts and Science junior Brittany Holzherr said she believes the bathroom is “disgusting” and in need of immediate repair. She added that she thought the facility was in such bad condition because it doesn’t get a lot of student traffic.

“The best restrooms are those in the much larger buildings such as Kimmel,” Holzherr said.

Upon hearing a few students’ concerns about the bathroom’s condition, this reporter sent in a Facilities & Construction Management work request form to see if the university’s facilities management felt the same:

Client Services Center

Work Order Number:            11-083482

Building:            25-W 4TH ST


Requestor Name:            Anna Sanders

Request Date:            15-APR-11

One of the eight stalls at 25 W. 4th St. is broken. It cannot be securely locked or even closed.

A representative from Client Services followed up to say that someone from F&CM would check out the conditions. Ten days after a work request was sent in, an examination of the facility revealed the following:

  • Two out of eight stalls are wobbly
  • Four out of eight toilets don’t seem secured to the wall and have cracks in the caulk and porcelain
  • Two out of eight stall doors don’t close completely
  • Three out of eight stalls have half-inch gaps between the stall structure and the door. It is easy to look through the gap and see everything that’s happening in the stall
  • All of the five sinks work, but they are all also dirty
  • The floor is slightly dirty but it fair condition
  • One of the stalls (pictured to the right) is missing a piece of the stall structure (a reporter couldn’t close the door because there is a five-inch gap) and is, for all intents and purposes, broken
  • One stall wouldn’t open at all and appeared locked from inside. Upon investigation through the small gap, there appeared to a mysterious brown color on the toilet. It’s unknown how long that stall has been out-of-order

On April 25 from 4:30 to 5 p.m. when these observations were made, two of the bathrooms eight stalls weren’t functioning and the majority were in need of some repair, either with the stall structure or the toilets.

During this reporter’s investigation, one student walked in and peered in the broken stall before determining it couldn’t be used. “This stall isn’t actually a stall,” she said. “That’s…interesting,” she added, swinging the door 180 degrees.

One of the toilets with visible cracks in the caulk and porcelain. Toilets at the bathroom in the basement at 25 W. 4th St. are designed to be securely mounted to the wall.

Though the survey demonstrated the bathroom is in disastrous condiditon, it “probably” won’t receive a complete renovation until 2013, according to Beth Morningstar, director of strategic assessment and communications office of the executive vice president at NYU’s Office of Strategic Assessment, Planning, & Design.

“It hasn’t been repaired since 2010, so we may want to send the plumbing shop in there,” Morningstar said. “Usually summer times are a good time to go around and get a lot of the stuff done.”

Morningstar explained that the bathroom’s wobbly stalls are inherent in the design of all NYU restrooms, explaining that the stalls in this particular restroom are wall-mounted and attached to a wall carrier instead of to the floor by design.

Nevertheless, the cracks in the caulk and porcelain in several of the bathroom’s toilets suggest they are not properly secured to the wall.

CAS senior Erin Kidder lamented the toilets’ poor condition. “The seats are wobbly and low,” she said, adding that it feels like she is using preschool-sized bathrooms. However, Kidder emphasized the entire bathroom was in bad shape.

“I think it’s an abysmal excuse for a water closet,” she said.

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