Why I Love America

Today I was in Times Square and, unsurprisingly, was approached on the street by a young huckster attempting to get me to check out his establishment.  However, I was floored to see what was in the building.  In an attempt to meet a strong public need (the city of New York has been debating the lack of public restrooms for years to no effect) and to gain some marketing exposure, P&G has leased out storefront space in Times Square to open a Charmin-branded public restroom.  It is truly an odd experience, a cross between a bathroom and a Disney attraction.  There are games and entertainers and a gift shop, and, of course, twenty very nice private bathrooms that are cleaned by the staff after each use.  All my son and I could think to say when we were done was "We love America."

Here is more on the bathrooms and the promotion, open just for the holidays.

Someone has also posted a Youtube video of the entire experience:

After visiting again, I can't shake the parallel (despite the fact that these bathrooms are free) to the public restroom company in Snow Crash.  I know there are a lot of folks who rebel against the cyberpunk genre, and I have always been more of a space-opera traditionalist (Foundation, Mote in Gods Eye, Louis McMaster Bujold, Hyperion, etc.) but over time Snow Crash may well become my favorite Sci-fi book.


  1. Andy:

    Where else but in a free market economy.

  2. cactusmouse1:

    Just curious, what do they charge?

  3. la petite chou chou:

    Ha! So funny.

    Next year you will be able to purchase those toilet costumes for your little rug-rat for Halloween!

  4. ElamBend:

    A clean and pleasant public restroom in downtown NYC? I would pay $5.00 for that under certain circumstances(actually, maybe more).

  5. David:

    I'm curious - I'm also a fan of Asimov, Niven, and Bujold, but I'm always looking for new authors. I'll have to check out Hyperion, but is there any chance of you doing a post on other authors similar to these?