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A Bathroom Worth Noting | DesignNotes by Michael Surtees

A Bathroom Worth Noting

window at Pulinos

Bathroom door at Pulinos

Sunday morning I had the opportunity to hang out with Randy J. Hunt, a smart design guy that I respect a lot. He has a habit of mentioning great places to eat so when he emailed me on Saturday wanting to meet up on Sunday I wasn’t going to say no. I had never been to Pulinos before but have walked by it quite a bit with Madison checking out what was going on Bowery.

We ended up splitting a couple pizza’s. There was the Nutella (extra virgin olive oil, sea salt + nutella) and the Ottima (Ricotta, wild blueberry jam + bacon). Having never had those combinations before I wasn’t sure what to expect. The Nutella was a plain thin crust with a side dish of Nutella and sea salt. The Ottima was had a decent proportion of the description above. They were both amazing for different reasons. Nutella and sea salt are a great combo while the ottima was a solid combination of three elements.

While the food was really good what made me want to do this post was the bathroom. Strange as that sounds there was a perception shift that I had never really felt before. A lot of bathrooms in NYC are multifinctional—meaning they’re both for women and men, but the doors at Pulinos would suggest otherwise. Walking down the stairs there’s two doors—women’s and men’s. Kind of obvious until a person washes their hands. The bathroom was empty while I was there, though I suspect the experience would have been different if I had seen anyone inside. In any case as I turned my head to my right I noticed that both the women’s and men’s doors lead to the same spot that I was standing. It was a really interesting gut hit to see that. I could have photographed the whole experience after the fact but I think it is worth going through without the visual ahead of time.

I would love to know the process of how this bathroom came to be. I’m going to assume that this idea isn’t completly unique but it was the first time I’ve experienced it first hand. That situation was a great example of taking a set of parameters that most people would have complained about, and made it something memorable to the context of a shared bathroom which isn’t exactly uncommon in NYC.

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  • Amrita

    Huh. Very interesting. I’ve seen the sinks be communal but not this – trickery! I’ve accidentally walked into mens rooms a few times, I would have done a double take if I was there!

  • http://twitter.com/traingeek D

    heh, and now it just needs a transgender door for those of us from the many other genders… I have found that shared bathrooms like this (in college dorms for example) really do help to push us past the gender binary world…