It’s a fact of life… we all have to go sometimes. New York City is short on public bathrooms. You wind up going in a bar, gas station, department store, and find the pissoir that they offer because they are legally required to do so.
It wasn’t like that decades ago — NYC built some handsome Beaux Arts and later Art Deco public bathrooms along the prominent public ways, and while some of them fulfill their earlier function, some do a different job entirely.
This number, for example, was photographed by FNY Correspondent Gary Fonville in 2001 (we now speak of Forgotten NY in terms of decades). From the looks of things, it was still doing the job it was built to do at that point.
Cut till 2016, and it’s still a public pissoir in a way, but now has the added function of dispensing hamburgers, chili, baked potatoes and chicken sandwiches.
Who knows if the 2016 restaurant patrons know about the original purpose of the joint?