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Porta-Potties Little Relief for Protesters Who Say They Don't Use Them

By DNAinfo Staff on November 8, 2011 7:07am  | Updated on November 8, 2011 7:08am

By Sonja Sharp

DNAinfo News Editor/Producer

When nature calls, Occupy Wall Street protester Terrence Hubbard will go pretty much anywhere.

Like many men in the camp, he said he doesn't mind relieving himself into a water bottle or on a street corner. For more urgent matters, he'll stop by the McDonald's at the edge of Zuccotti Park. 

What the 22-year-old hasn't done is pay a visit to a Porta-Potty. In fact on Monday, days after three units intended for protesters were stationed just blocks from the campsite, Hubbard said he hadn't even heard about them. 

"I use a street corner, a telephone pole," Hubbard said. "I did it a couple of times in my tent when I was lazy. Otherwise, I go to McDonald's." 

Attitudes like his have prompted outrage from Downtown residents, tired of watching their neighborhood being used as a toilet. Demonstrators reacted by putting three portable toilets in a loading dock of 52 Broadway.

But, though many protesters were relieved to have the new restrooms, few interviewed on Monday seemed to have actually used them. 

"Everybody was happy about it, but I still use McDonald's because it's close and I like to use a real toilet," said protester Amanda Funaro, 20, of Long Island. Most echoed her preference for indoor plumbing. 

The stalls themselves are nearly immaculate.

Jake Lowry, 24, of Portland, Maine, is among the occupiers who said he'd tried the new toilets.

"I heard some rumblings about them and I saw a map on the info desk," Lowry said. "I feel bad for the poor people at McDonald's who have to clean constantly. Every time I've been there they're mopping — I just want to make them a cake."

Lowry said he thought the potties would be more popular if the movement did a better job of publicizing them. 

"I think someone needs to put up more flyers about it," he said. "They're nice Porta-Potties. In terms of Porta-Potties, they're top of the line." 

Many interviewed said long lines and deteriorating conditions at local businesses have made life at the campsite uncomfortable, but the relative distance of the Porta-Potties, located about five blocks from Zuccotti Park, made them less attractive.

"If the Porta-Potties were closer, like on one of the corners of the park, I'd definitely use them," Funaro said. 

But others weren't so enthusiastic.

"The thing about Porta-Potties is that people don't respect them as bathrooms," said protester Ian Hermes, 18, as he lounged outside his tent at the entrance to the park.

"I like things clean."