How we used a wheelie loo in New York (2005)
United Nations Building: How to cope with a "little situation
In 2004 we were in New York. Of course we also visited the UN building. At the end of our visit we thought, “there’s definitely a toilet, we’ll ask.” So we hit one of the security people and asked. Entered mine: No, they didn’t have a wheelchair toilet (at least at that time). But we were supposed to wait. He radioed with a colleague: “Jack, we have a little situation here!” And indeed Jack Rat knew: We were allowed to use the toilet room of the UN delegates on the first floor. There are currently no delegates, and the toilet would be completely free and we would only have it for us.
Through several secured doors, but otherwise without further security check (they had them at the building entrance also sufficiently) we arrived at the toilet of the delegates. On the way there the security guard, who had remained nameless for us, told us about the war. He had been in Vietnam, wounded, and many of his comrades had also been wheelchair users afterwards, so it was an honour to help wherever he could. The toilet itself was not bad, but also not a particularly positive surprise. But the story around it, and of course the relaxation, make it worth mentioning.
Museum of Natural History: How Toshi Almost Got Arrested
On the same trip we still had to deal with some different toilet incidents.
In the Museum of Natural History, which is very worth seeing, and where we stayed really long, we had an experience of a very special kind.
Right at the entrance of the museum, there is a big toilet for the ladies with maybe fifteen, twenty cabins. Also the Rollikabine was, as usual in the states, in the rooms for men or women. So far so good.
So we went in, enjoyed the rooms, Toshi always nice with a lowered view, because we knew about the prudish attitude of some Americans, but without a really bad conscience, and also without looking at it in a weird way to harvest again.
Outside, a fury of security agents with a cap and a baton on their hips plucks Toshi away from Heike’s turtleneck and pulls the baffled man around the next corner. To give him a telling off: “You CAN’T go in there!” The reference to Heike’s need, and her need for help, and the fact that we had different sexes, did not help. Even the hint that in Europe there is unisex pollikless what is more practical in our situation did not help: “We don’t have that in the states! The “Basta!” was not pronounced, but echoed all the louder.
So: Heike should always be able to get in, but she can’t do it alone, but Toshi can’t get in. When asked about the solution to this dilemma, she said: “You ask me, i clear the toilet, then you can go in there.” That it can sometimes be a little hasty, and that “clearing” a toilet with twenty well occupied cabins can take a while, we didn’t discuss anymore. Toshi was too afraid that the whole thing might grow into a case for the police after all…
Meanwhile Heike hadn’t noticed anything about it. Standing around the corner. Beautiful example for integration, the…
Since our visit to the museum turned out to be quite nice and Heike wanted to use the rooms again at the end, we went to a toilet somewhere on a higher floor. There was actually also a (this time male) museum employee, who was a little baffled by our request to “clear” the toilet and followed our request with a glance into the toilet, which was followed by a nod. Judging by the sounds from the other cabins, the toilet wasn’t exactly deserted, but of course it wasn’t a problem.
So the standards are very different again and again. And even in the same building they can be quite different…
Bar Aubette: How the waiter danced us to the toilet
The Bar Aubette is (or was?) a nice relaxed bar in New York. Must have been somewhere in the East Village. We don’t know exactly anymore.
There was a wheelie loo that didn’t burn into our memory as something special. But the way we were led to the toilet is unforgettable: The waiter, an African American and a giant, danced gorgeously to the relaxed lounge music in front of us and made sure that the people made room for us so that we had enough space with the wheelchair.
In any case one of the most exhilarating ways to the toilet. Ever!
A pub in Greenwich Village: How we almost got stuck in the toilet cabin
We went for a drink in the Village, a small pub tour. When the time came, it turned out that in this (relatively new and modern) pub the toilet was located in the basement with access via a spiral staircase. So nothing. But Heike had to… So we asked, and the staff really knew what to do: The neighboring pub had a toilet on the ground floor.
So we went over with company, and yes, we could. The pub was clearly prettier, a kind of vault, but deserted except for the staff. Maybe a club that welcomes its guests later.
In any case, we just got into the toilet vestibule with the wheelchair. From there over the stand into the cabin we went as well. Also to sit down, because they always come down.
But when Toshi wanted to put Heike upright again, it turned out that his hands just fit between Heike’s hips and the wall. Hardly any room to exert force. “It fits sucking” is what mechanics call that when something really fits exactly and without any play. And that’s how it was there. The advantage: falling down? Impossible!
Well, we made it, and since then we’ve been comparing every tight or announced as “very tight” toilet to this one in Greenwich Village, New York. And we feel we haven’t had it any tighter ever since.