Only 40 percent of New York City parks have public restrooms, Stringer’s proposal would increase the Parks Department’s operating budget and ensure that every park and playground has a clean bathroom and changing station by 2029
Stringer’s proposal would also guarantee adequate gender-neutral facilities and rightsize the proportion of gender-specific bathrooms for women to cut down wait times
Stringer: “If we want vibrant neighborhoods where working families can thrive, we need to invest in our parks and playgrounds and ensure they’re accessible to all. Every park in all five boroughs should be family-friendly—and that means they should have a clean, usable bathroom with a changing station.”
New York, NY – As the weather gets warmer and more New Yorkers spend time outdoors, City Comptroller and mayoral candidate Scott Stringer today proposed installing public restrooms with changing stations in all parks and playgrounds to transform park usability and accessibility in every neighborhood.
At Bellevue South Park today, Stringer highlighted that only 40% of New York City parks have a public restroom, often forcing families with children to leave parks earlier in search of a bathroom or changing station. Stringer’s proposal would also increase the Parks Department’s funding, ensure adequate gender-neutral facilities, and rightsize the proportion of gender-specific bathrooms for women to cut down wait times. All 200 new playgrounds built under a Stringer administration will also include a bathroom and changing station.
“If we want vibrant neighborhoods where working families can thrive, we need to invest in our parks and playgrounds and ensure they’re accessible to all. Every park in all five boroughs should be family-friendly—and that means they should have a clean, usable bathroom with a changing station. These public spaces are critical resources that bring neighbors together and anchor our communities. When I’m mayor, New Yorkers won’t have to cut the fun short,” said Comptroller Scott Stringer.
To make parks more family-friend and to transform park usability and accessibility, Stringer’s proposal would:
- Build a bathroom and changing station in every park and playground by 2029 and increase the number of bathrooms in larger parks. For children and young families, the value of a park or playground is severely diminished if it lacks a bathroom or changing station. Having to constantly scurry home in a rush is no way to enjoy the park. Unfortunately, only 40 percent of the City’s 1,700 parks, playgrounds, and recreation facilities include a comfort station and only 27 percent of these bathrooms have changing tables. As Mayor, Scott will install a bathroom and changing table at every Parks Department facility by 2029 — and increase the existing number of bathrooms in larger parks. He will expedite this process by following the lead of Governor’s Island and Domino Park, installing modern, clean, trailer bathrooms at the curb space adjacent to community parks and playgrounds.
- Baseline Parks funding at 1% of the City budget, doubling down on Parks Department maintenance and sanitation. Understaffing at the Parks Department — a condition that was exacerbated during the pandemic — is too often reflected in the substandard conditions of many comfort stations in playgrounds and parks, and must be rectified. A public restroom is only truly public if it is clean and free of hazards. As such, Scott will bring the Parks Department budget to 1% of the City’s overall budget, in line with many other cities. He will set ironclad maintenance standards for parks and playgrounds and ensure that sufficient funding is in place to achieve these goals.
- Ensure public restrooms at parks and playgrounds are accessible by creating a public map of parks amenities and conducting a full inventory of neighborhood parks to ensure that their offerings reflect community needs. To ensure that facilities, amenities, and activities reflect local needs, Scott will have the Parks Department conduct a full audit of its neighborhood parks, survey local residents, and create a short-, mid-, and long-term plan to modify and redesign parks in order to match local interests and to address any disparities from borough to borough and neighborhood to neighborhood. Moving forward, NYC Parks maps, apps, directories, and inventories should clearly denote which facilities have public restrooms to ensure residents, neighbors, visitors, and those in-need are in-the-know about where to go.
- Ensure adequate gender-neutral facilities and rightsize the proportion of gender-specific bathrooms for women to cut down wait times. As Comptroller, Scott spearheaded efforts to pass legislation requiring gender-neutral bathrooms in public and private buildings. As Mayor, he will ensure adequate gender-neutral facilities at public parks and playgrounds — and rightsize the number of facilities, such as bathroom stalls, specific to women, to cut down on wait times and equalize access across genders. In 2005, New York City passed a law requiring that all new or significantly renovated places of public assembly have two women’s toilet fixtures for every one devoted to men. Moving forward, the Parks Department will begin to implement this ratio retroactively, adding toilet fixtures to existing women’s bathrooms, where possible, and adding additional bathroom space for women.
Scott Stringer grew up in Washington Heights in the 1970s. He attended P.S. 152 on Nagle Avenue and I.S. 52 on Academy Street. He graduated from John F. Kennedy High School in Marble Hill and John Jay College of Criminal Justice in Manhattan, a CUNY school.
Stringer was elected City Comptroller in 2013. Prior to serving as Comptroller, he was Manhattan Borough President from 2006 to 2013 and represented the Upper West Side in the New York State Assembly from 1992 to 2005. He and his wife, Elyse Buxbaum, live in Manhattan with their two children, Max and Miles.