Porta-Potty Lookalike Shed Offers No Relief For Security Guard

By Jill Colvin on December 27, 2011 6:54am 

Security Guard Raphel Sicheran says many people mistake the shed for a Porta-Potty.
Security Guard Raphel Sicheran says many people mistake the shed for a Porta-Potty.
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DNAinfo/Jill Colvin

MIDTOWN — A security guard's Broadway outpost that he uses to get relief from the cold is attracting attention from passers-by desperate for relief of another kind.

Construction site guard Raphel Sicheran says his "Personal PortaShed" at the corner of 54th Street and Broadway looks so much like a Porta-Potty that he’s been forced to put up a bright, yellow sign which reads “No Toilet."

“A lot of people knock on it. They want to use the toilet. But it’s not a toilet. It’s a construction booth,” explained Sicheran, 57, who lives in the Bronx and spends his days overseeing Harry Gross' 67-story mega Marriott hotel, which is quickly rising at 1717 Broadway.

But, even with the sign, he says he still gets constant visitors.

One of the reasons for the uncanny resemblance is that Callahead, the company that manufactures the shed, is most famous for its portable toilets.

It rents out a wide range of bathrooms for special events and other temporary uses. But it also makes storage sheds and guard sheds, including Sicheran's tiny “Guard Shed 16" —  which measures just 48 by 46 inches and comes complete with a 100 volt light and two windows.

Granite Broadway Development, Marriott International's partner on the project, referred questions about the sheds to CNY Builders, which is managing construction at the hotel. CNY and Callahead did not return calls for comment.

But despite the lack of luxury, Sicheran said that, while the space is tight, he has enough room to comfortably rest his feet, with a small black folding chair, a knee-high desk stacked with newspapers and hooks to hang his bags.

And despite the confusion, the model appears to be a popular one. The same “Guard Shed 16” is also being used just up the block, at 237 W. 54th St., where a Moinian-backed company is building a new 34-story hotel.

Diallo Woury, 32, a security guard at that site, said that even though the shed design is used by companies city-wide, he understands the comparison.

“It looks exactly the same,” he said of the Porta-Potty-like design, but added that, unlike his counterpart on the corner, he’s never had anyone actually mistake his workspace for a toilet.

So many people have confused this construction shed for a Porta-Potty, that the security guard who works there has posted a sign that says,
So many people have confused this construction shed for a Porta-Potty, that the security guard who works there has posted a sign that says, "No Toilet."
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DNAinfo/Jill Colvin

New Jersey's Sal Mangiapane, 53, pointed out Sicheran's shed with a chuckle to his sons during a family walk through Midtown late last week.

“It really looks like a Porta-John," Mangiapane said with a grin.

And while Sicheran said he'd like to help those seeking relief, he said the best he can do is direct them to the Starbucks across the street.

"We can’t do nothing about it,” he said. “If they think it’s a toilet, that’s up to them.”

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