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living roomGrowing up outside of New York City, I’ve spent countless days wandering its buzzing streets and getting lost within what I view as the ultimate metropolitan epicenter. It wasn’t until my college years, though, that I learned about Starbucks’ bathrooms.

The thing about New York is there’s nowhere to stop. In accordance with its fast-paced reputation, unless you’re headed somewhere, there’s rarely a place you can find to slow down. Depending on the part of town, it can even be a challenge to find a proper bench to park yourself long enough to eat a bite.

Something as simple as finding a bathroom became an epic quest before I learned of Starbucks’ open-door policy regarding use of its bathrooms. In my lifetime of exploring The City That Never Sleeps, it’s the only place I can think of that offers this amenity to the public. How tourists survive long days of city sightseeing has always been a mystery to me; if I never figured out New York’s rest stop secrets, how could they have enough stamina to go nonstop without a public toilet or seat in sight?

What Not to Do in a New City

This question is finally being addressed with two startups looking to offer a modicum of privacy and personal resources in an unforgiving urban landscape.

The first goes by the name Breather, and offers just that — a clean, comfortable and private place to breathe where you can make a phone call, eat a snack, hold a meeting or even take a nap — all while Manhattan carries on around you.

The spaces are reserved using a mobile app (or the Web) and can be used for 30 minutes or the entire day. Modestly furnished but modern, the spaces offer natural light and are cleaned after each reservation. Supplies such as pencils, notepads and Wi-Fi are available for use. If you’re thinking of “other things” the rooms can be used for, well, the site covers that in its terms and conditions. Breather spaces are currently available around New York City and Montreal, and they’re headed to San Francisco. Prices vary by location, ranging from $15 to $25 per hour.

Answering nature’s call in a similar fashion, POSH Stow and Go (as seen in The Verge) has plans to become a members-only storage and bathroom facility that offers private access to lockers and personal bathrooms. Set to launch the summer of 2014, POSH offers luggage-laden visitors or weary New Yorkers the chance to use their private facilities for an annual $15 membership fee, in addition to daily pricing that ranges by package — $24 for three days, $42 for six days or $60 for 10 days.

Set to become available in the precious little space of NYC, POSH stresses that its membership offerings are limited and first-come, first-served. If the ultimate in washroom seclusion appeals to you and you find that you’re sick of seeing the inside of every Starbucks, treat yourself to some rare alone time in The Big Apple.

Would you take advantage of a members-only bathroom or reserve a quiet space when visiting a new city? Let us know in the comments below.

— written by Brittany Chrusciel

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One Response to “Trending: Peace & Privacy Coming to a City Near You!”

  1. Colleen says:

    Another lifetime NYC’er (well just escaped a county over few months ago!) here…knew about the forthcoming luxe loos, I don’t think any of us are sure how that is going to go – we get curious too – as to how visitors might be interested.
    Aside from the reliable Starbucks, other options would be large department stores, big chain clothing stores & kind of any McDonalds or eatery crowded enough no one sees you walk by, which is most of the time, esp. meal time.

    Breather sounds too good to be true! I wonder how they can afford to offer the space at those prices in NYC? The concept is quite clever though the idea of “other things” is a bit off-putting….because it’s quite possible. Well it’s NYC anything IS possible but usually GREAT and that’s why we and all the visitors love it.
    There are MORE benches to sit on! Parts of mid town, Times Square area and other places (consult visitor map) have been blocked off to traffic & now have benches & sculpture. Bryant Park is also in Midtown, and there are small parks scattered about town for sit breaks, aside from our grand Central Park.

    As always, keep an eye out for those costumed things in Times Square; some get fresh! (Lil touchy, giving fun characters a bad rep! lol) We’re not quite sure WHY they are there! #ItsNYC!!

    Have fun!!

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