Civic honchos demand gender-neutral bathroom in Fort Greene park

The city must install a gender-neutral bathroom at Commodore Barry Park’s comfort station, civic honchos demanded.
Brooklyn Paper
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He wants to take the binary out of going number one and number two!

The Parks Department must build a separate, gender-neutral bathroom as part of a pricey makeover of Fort Greene’s Commodore Barry Park comfort station, even though city law allows people to use whichever loo they identify with, according to a member of Community Board 2’s Parks and Recreation Committee.

“It doesn’t satisfy me that they can use any bathroom they feel closely aligned with — that’s not the answer,” said the committee’s vice chair Andrew Lastowecky at the Monday meeting. “I know certain transgender people that don’t feel comfortable with this ‘identify with whoever you are.’”

Parks officials presented the committee with a $3.1 million renovation of the bathrooms at the Flushing Avenue park, with plans showing a complete gut renovation of the interior, along with a new roof, windows, masonry, and accessibility upgrades.

The bathroom between the park’s baseball field and playground has not been renovated since the 1980s, and the city plans to finish the new design by spring 2020, paving the way for the comfort station’s reopening the following year, according to Parks architect Julie Fisher.

Lastowecky proposed cannibalizing parts of the comfort station’s mechanical room to make way for the gender-neutral stall, but a rep for the Parks Department said that there simply wasn’t room for a whole other stall, while referring to Mayor de Blasio’s 2016 decree essentially allowing New Yorkers to use whichever city bathroom they preferred.

“We’re squeezing a lot into this building and Commodore Barry [Park] desperately needs bathrooms,” said Jim Morris.

Lastowecky and his fellow committee members previously scolded green space gurus for not doing more for gender-non-conforming Brooklynites when they presented a renovation of a comfort station in Cadman Plaza Park in March.

The board’s assistant district manager agreed that the park was in dire need of additional bathrooms, and said the Parks Department should be looking at ways to increase the number of toilets to accommodate special events at the Fort Greene green space.

“You’re able to go into whichever bathroom you want to while we’re retaining the maximum amount of bathrooms — which I’m thinking, four, really?” said Carol-Ann Church. “When you have an event, four isn’t going to be nearly enough.”

The committee passed a purely advisory motion to approve the design, but Lastowecky noted that he didn’t want to wait decades for another renovation to get it right on gender-neutral facilities.

“Since this will take another 20 years before it’s touched again we’re not approaching it all over again, this is a newer project, so I’m a little disappoint­ed,” he said.

Reach reporter Kevin Duggan at (718) 260–2511 or by e-mail at Follow him on Twitter @kduggan16.
Updated 1:43 pm, October 22, 2019
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Reasonable discourse

Tyler from pps says:
These head honchos aren't questioning the more obvious issue? A small building with toilets somehow costs $3.1 million. That is patently absurd.
Oct. 22, 2019, 2:20 pm
clare from Sheepshead Bay says:
I didn't like seeing the signs in a local small playground. Not every man/woman has good intentions. Not every parent is with one child that she can keep a close eye on. I'm all for three restrooms.
Oct. 22, 2019, 4:05 pm
Ro from Park Slope says:
In this day and age, gender exclusive public restrooms might become a thing of the past if we build individual stalls with floor to ceiling walls and a door -- like at the newer hotels in the city and as some world travelers have seen them in Japan.
Oct. 22, 2019, 4:20 pm
Fiddle Faddel from Flatlands says:
Special Interest groups always demand when they are in the minority. Let the Honchos go to court.
Oct. 22, 2019, 4:24 pm
Mai Dai from Marine Park says:
The civic Honchos say that their agenda has nothing to do with toilets, but in the end and when push comes to shove, it has everything to do with the toilets. They are such hypocrites.
Oct. 22, 2019, 6:08 pm
Regular says:
This is discrimination against us gender binary-s! Why do they get their bathroom, but we are denied our separation ?!? We didn’t choose to be gender binary - we were just born this way!
Oct. 22, 2019, 6:09 pm
Pnia from Bay Ridge says:
Oct. 24, 2019, 5:33 am
Brooklyn Heights from Dan says:
Gender exclusive bathrooms are safer for women not transgender women who are men. Society has run amuck with gender neutrality catering to the 1% of confused individuals not knowing their gender. The city does not need to spend $3M on renovations rather help the homeless.
Oct. 24, 2019, 7:48 am
alfred kohler from Brooklyn Heights says:
One nice big bathroom, wheel-chair accessible, perhaps self-cleaning, should be sufficient for all, and safer for all.
Oct. 25, 2019, 11:17 am
Heebee Jeebees from Newton Creek says:
If the Honchos want one, let them do what all Brookllynites or rent. The majority of us should not be made to pay for the luxuries of the special interests.
Oct. 27, 2019, 11:15 am

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