John Metcalfe was CityLab’s Bay Area bureau chief, covering climate change and the science of cities.
Also, a flatulent doll teaches South Koreans to poop and dinosaur commodes rumble into New Zealand.
Here's the latest loo news via Toilet Tuesday:
THE BAD KIND OF PUBLIC NUDITY, IN MANHATTAN
A private bathroom at New York's Standard Hotel became unexpectedly public last week after work crews allegedly forgot to put curtains back into toilet stalls they were renovating. That wouldn't be a problem in most bathrooms, but this being the loo inside the notorious Boom Boom Room, the windows go all the way from floor to ceiling. Without a barrier, pedestrians strolling the High Line could lock eyes with the club's clientele as they conducted business upon their porcelain thrones. (Slightly NSFW footage.) That's the claim according to the Daily News, anyway, which (always classy!) sent its own reporter up to the transparent commode to wave at a videographer outside. Gothamist points out that you almost needed a "lunar telescope" to monitor activity on the 18th-floor bathroom – although this being New York, that probably happened about 5,000 times. The sights seem decidedly better from the other side, even with black curtains now in place. As one man enthused to the News: "You get a great view from the urinal. It feels like you’re peeing on New York."
KOREANS ENTRANCED BY POOTING DOLL
When historians look back 50 years from now to suss out why South Koreans have such good toilet etiquette, they no doubt will come across the “Kong Suni Fart Master Baby Doll.” This gaseous gal is taking the country "by storm," according to the Inquisitr, because the "combination of feeding, farting, and feces may sound disgusting to some, but apparently it’s all the rage in South Korea." Kong Suni is meant to provide toilet training for tots: They feed the doll plastic "cereal" and then rub on its belly to elicit a low blast of flatulence. The advanced "Pooping Boss" model adds on a toy toilet and a pile of fake poop that bears a little smiley face. The existence of this excreting moppet will be no surprise to those familiar with Korea's fascination with ddong, or curled-up piles of No. 2. The archetype appears in everything from delicious pastries to children's school supplies to these strangely beautiful mosaic sculptures in the public square.
SQUATTING IN A PREHISTORIC CREATURE, IN NEW ZEALAND
Ever wonder what Jonah felt like when trying to heed the call of nature inside that whale? You can get an approximate idea by stepping into these public bathrooms that look like bathymetric monstrosities prowling the Kumutoto district of Wellington. The weird washrooms were designed by Studio Pacific Architecture, which writes:
These organic forms, eye-catching and instantly memorable, are suggestive of crustaceans or sea creatures, as if the structure was a kind of fossilised husk that had been discovered and inhabited. Recalling the waterfront’s shipping past, they evoke the crusty saltiness of the sea in the smooth levelness of the precinct, clinging to its surface like barnacles to the underside of a boat.
Those in need of a wee enter the "maw" of each concrete-and-steel animal to access a single toilet. Stretching up into the air is a tunnel shaped like a tail, with staggered plates of armor that allow for natural ventilation. The architect says that the creatures display "practical considerations such as security, hygiene and vandalism," the latter, I guess, being that spray painters might worry that the tail will swing down and crush down them like bugs?
Here's a view from inside one beast: