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Bessent: Finding a bathroom in New York City may get harder under new rules

New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg looks on

New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg looks on during a news conference in New York City. (April 13, 2012) Credit: Getty Images

For day-trippers to New York City finding a place to relieve yourself can be almost as tough as finding free parking. But now there’s news for anyone who has ever spent quality time in the city holding it and searching for a restroom; things may get worse.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg signed legislation recently allowing restaurants and coffee shops with an occupancy of 30 or fewer to make due with one bathroom rather than two, as previously required.

The change has something to do with bringing the city’s plumbing code into agreement with its health code. But anything that makes it more difficult to answer nature’s call is downright diabolical. Couldn’t hiz-honor have resolved the discrepancy by opting for whichever code requires more public facilities rather than fewer?

The rules on bathrooms in New York City are characteristically Byzantine, with different building codes covering construction from different eras and rules that depend on how many seats a restaurant has, how many people it can actually hold, whether the building has been renovated and what its certificate of occupancy happens to say.

All that aside, there’s one urgent reality that should guide the city’s potty policy; when you gotta go, you gotta go.