What a celebration in California? – Just a new Public Toilet. For… $1.7 million

10:28 26.05.2024 •

People taking tours of the newly opened Noe Valley toilet.
Photo: The New York Times

San Francisco Celebrates Its New Public Toilet. The town threw a party for the opening of a $1.7 million public restroom, writes ‘The New York Times’.

San Francisco closed the lid Sunday on the saga of a $1.7 million public restroom. To commemorate the commode’s installation, residents celebrated at a “potty party” they called the Toilet Bowl.

San Francisco may have been a laughingstock over the news that it planned to spend $1.7 million to construct a single public restroom with a sink and toilet, getting skewered by late-night comedians and inspiring the “it” costume at Halloween parties.

But on Sunday, the city got the last laugh.

“We wanted to, you know, really roll with it,” said Zach D’Angelo, dressed as a giant roll of toilet paper with a red plunger as his hat. D’Angelo, the host of Tuesday night trivia at a pub down the street, served as the Toilet Bowl’s emcee — or, as he put it, the Grand Poobah.

“I am flush with excitement!” he exclaimed before he started telling toilet jokes that he said he had gotten from his 7-year-old nephew.

The mood wasn’t quite so lighthearted in October 2022 when city officials announced a news conference in the Noe Valley Town Square to celebrate securing $1.7 million in state funds to build the 150-square-foot restroom — enough money to buy a whole single-family house in the city.

Just as puzzling as the price tag was the timeline. The city said it would take two to three years to install the restroom, even after it secured the state funds.

Neighbors and a local journalist (well, me) began to question the details of the project. City officials explained the toilet would have to be approved by numerous city commissions. It would also be subject to environmental review. All that, plus the high cost of construction in the city, made the project expensive and time-consuming.

Politicians began distancing themselves from the bathroom brouhaha. Gov. Gavin Newsom took back the state money.

In the end, the new red restroom in the Noe Valley Town Square was worthy of celebration. On Sunday, a woman doled out toilet trivia. Local librarians handed out free copies of children’s books entitled “Everyone Poops” and “Time to Use the Potty.” There was a toilet-themed costume contest with whoopee cushions as prizes.

Three San Francisco politicians — Supervisor Rafael Mandelman, State Senator Scott Wiener and Assemblyman Matt Haney — addressed the crowd. Haney posed for a photo in front of the bathroom.

“It’s not gold-plated, but it’s worth its weight in gold,” he said with a laugh.

Partygoers were invited to decorate the “Toilet Tree” with handmade bathroom-themed decorations.
Photo: The New York Times


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