Stay Puft Marshmallow Man and the Brooklyn Bridge

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Saturday afternoon Anson, Roan and I headed over to the Brooklyn Banks.  This is an area under the Manhattan side of the Brooklyn Bridge where skateboarders and bmx(ers?) gather to ride like crazy on the ramps and pillars.  On this day there was a skating contest taking place and the scene was a madhouse.  These were my people, back in the day.  I would have could have hung with pretty much any kid there back when I was a little punk myself.  But now – holding fast to my son’s hand and suspiciously sniffing out the pockets to avoid (because let’s face it 5-years-old is just too young to get a 2nd-hand-high) I was the old lady in the crowd.  We found a pretty good vantage point to watch these young boys (there was a glaring absence of girl skaters) fling themselves into impossible positions and land hopefully on their boards, or at least on their bum rather than wrists.  It all came to a crashing halt when Roan muttered the words, “I have to use the bathroom.”

Which brings me to one question:  why have we as a society not figured out how to have plentiful public toilets, which are not scary beyond belief?  I considered ushering Roan to a covert corner but my son is so unbelievably not down with public urination.  Let me just go on the record saying I highly doubt he will ever be ticketed in his lifetime for public urination.  Not his style.  So we wandered out of the fray, found a Blimpie’s (which sublets part of their space to a sushi restaurant and I couldn’t make sense of that.  Sandwiches and sushi together at last?  I dunno.)   We made use of their (harrowing and not-at-all restful) restroom, and grabbed some food. 


With the stretch of the Brooklyn Bridge in front of us and the most beautiful Spring day gifted upon us, we decided t
o walk the distance home with bellies full of food.
  Roan enjoys walking the Brooklyn Bridge, and it is by far one of my favorite things to do.  You get great views of Governor’s Island, the Verrazano Bridge, the Statue of Liberty, the Manhattan Bridge and of course the Brooklyn and Manhattan Skylines. You’re well above the cars on the walk, and it’s a little amusing to watch the angry bicyclists who are ready to kill all tourists who walk in the bicycle lane (Hey, I’m not saying the cyclists are wrong, just very very angry.  Angry bells being rung up and down that path.   There is a lot of angst happening in that bike lane.)

But then it happened again, “I have to use the bathroom.”  Seriously maybe I should just opt to dehydrate the child rather than try to map out all the best bathrooms in NYC (which actually I’ve done pretty extensively.  I have at least one go-to bathroom in most neighborhoods.  Except China Town, I’m lost there.)  We got to a Barnes & Noble (always acceptable and accessible, same as Starbucks) and eventually found our way home.  We all collapsed on the couch, ate pizza, popcorn and candy bars while watching Ghostbusters.  I’d forgotten how funny Bill Murray was in this movie and how creepy Sigourney Weaver is.  Roan passed out before the Stay-Puft Marshmallow Man made his way onto the screen, but thankfully Anson woke up with him at 6 AM Sunday morning to re-watch it with him, leaving me to dream of clean and plentiful restrooms late into Sunday morning.  But I awoke without the answer to my newest life question: what do you do when your kid has to go, and there’s no go-to in sight?  


12 responses to “Stay Puft Marshmallow Man and the Brooklyn Bridge

  1. Try searching out a “portable urinal” on google. or tested by me.

  2. I used to be able to hold it until I eyeballs swam before I would use a public toilet. That was before having 2 kids, back when my bladder actually liked me. Now it hates my guts so I am forced to use the hover technique in emergency situations.My kids were a different story because they were born with tiny, microscopic bladders and thus, have peed in every single public toilet in upstate New York.I can happily say that I’ve never found myself in a situation where they had to go and no public toilet was available. I don’t know if that’s thanks to sheer luck on my part or the obsessive-compulsive, anal retentive, detailed, extensive planning that was a precursor for any outing with my kids.

  3. Well, I have a different problem – we live in the country. Not rural country, but country. My son does not like public urination, but will go if necessary. My daughter and I have worked out a trick to use during long softball practices. I hold her hands and she assumes the “peeing position”. That way there are no clothes to dry out afterwards.

  4. Living in a state with big, wide-open spaces has prevented this issue from entering our lives to any great extent. When in public, my 3 year-old has no qualms about yanking his pants down and lettin’ er rip in front of anyone…anywhere…even on bystanders shoes. I act aghast and direct him to the nearest tree or patch of dirt. No big.But when the 13 year old has to go, there have been issues. Last time we were on a little plane with no restroom, Gabe was tearing up he had to go so bad. We had a full hour ahead of us, and he was clearly not going to make it. That’s what water bottles are good for. At a certain pain-point, they seem to lose their modesty. So I carry a large enough jacket to serve as a privacy curtain, and the required water bottle. Good thing I have boys.

  5. The Marshmallow man always used to scare the bejesus out of me; I was a fragile child…

  6. Jod, I totally feel you. There is nothing skeevier than flies circling a temporary commode. Dyl is opposite Roan in that he’s fine whipping it out wherever or whenever. Wish I had his problems. I’ve had to recondition him with, “the world is not your toilet.” That said, Starbucks and B&N have saved us more often than not, but I totes agree we need a better solution. You sage, Lady.

  7. I’m so glad you mentioned the angry bicyclists on the bridge! I live in San Francisco and we have them too! I’m always amazed on a beautiful sunny day when they are supposed to be enjoying their ride and they are angry beyond belief. I tend to think that maybe the spandex pants are too tight…

  8. Oh man! I hate using public restrooms, I always have a go-to bathroom! It’s too bad children can’t hold it like we do and wait until home!!

  9. Ah, a topic near to my heart!1) The only time that I ever experience penis envy is when I’m out in the woods and have to take a leak. It’d be so much easier to just lean discreetly against the nearest tree than to have to find some place where my lily-white ass won’t be visible to anyone who happens to come along the trail.2) On the road or in town, I’m a bit of a bathroom connoisseur. My advice: Avoid McDonald’s bathrooms if at all possible. Sheetz rates the highest in my book, followed closely by National Park porta-johns. 3) Not all of us cyclists are angry on bike paths. But I gotta tell ya, having to dodge people who have no awareness of what’s going on around them can be quite a test of one’s patience =)

  10. I think this is my first comment here, but I’ve been reading your blog since about the time you stopped being the “best-kept secret” 😉 – I love hearing about your adventures in NYC.Anyway, of course a post about young kids, small bladders and public toilets brought me out of the woodwork. I blogged about it myself not long back, but I won’t link that here as it was very negative after a highly stressful outing.I trained myself long ago to hold on as long as humanly possible (not really a good habit, but it saved my pelvic floor when I had kids!) but I have a child who tends to go before leaving the house, in the garden immediately after leaving the house, and then “needs” to go as soon as we’re in sniffing distance of a public/shopping centre toilet. And just cos the toilet’s there, doesn’t mean it’s clean enough to be used! My go-to toilet choices also depend on time of day and time elapsed since the last cleaner visited!However, my boys don’t have any qualms about public urination, LOL, and we’re currently in the “um, you’re not a toddler any more, so you can’t get away with it just cos you’re cute” phase. They’re also getting to the “too old for women’s toilet but still too young to be alone in men’s toilet” phase.For those that mentioned female needs, check this out – I don’t have one, but it looks interesting.Oh, and I’m new to the frustrations of cycling on shared paths, but I can assure you it’s just as frustrating if you’re trying to walk somewhere and people are taking up the whole path!Eek, that was a long comment!

  11. This should help, I have this application on my phone.

  12. This is a new dilemma for me too. My daughter has only been out of diapers for about a week, but I have already had to pull my car over and let her pee by the side of the road a few times. Don’t know how long she can hold it yet… I think I’ll be needing to map out public bathrooms here in Pittsburgh too.

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