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New Site Lets Retailers Promote Their Public Toilets

By Serena Dai | July 20, 2014 10:11pm
 WeeWeeFree is a web-based app on desktop and mobile browsers that helps New Yorkers and tourists find open restrooms.
WeeWeeFree is a web-based app on desktop and mobile browsers that helps New Yorkers and tourists find open restrooms.
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NEW YORK CITY — Can't find a place for a potty break while out on the town?

Former East Williamsburg resident Stefan George is trying to convince local businesses to open their commodes to the public as part of his new site, WeeWeeFree, which aims to bring in bladder-strained visitors during down hours.

That way, nature's call wouldn't require an awkward, meaningless purchase, George explained — and businesses could get unexpected foot traffic from setting "restroom hours" during less busy times.

"It might be a win-win," said the recent Stony Brook University computer science graduate. "The thing is, you can attract users, attract customers...Maybe one of 20 of them come back in the evening. It's probably worth it."

George was inspired by a 2012 story about a mom who was fined $50 after her 2-year-old boy urinated on the sidewalk in Philadelphia while they were out shopping. Before he tinkled outside, she had asked a local clothing store to use their restroom and was denied, according to reports.

"I was like, you know what, New York City is even worse," George said.

The site, weeweefree.com, allows businesses to list their toilets free of charge. The businesses can also control which hours their restrooms are open to the public and include that on the site.

Already, WeeWeeFree lists all of New York's public bathrooms and only shows ones that are open at the time users check the site.

It also offers walking directions to bathrooms, George said.

Other existing sites and apps also direct New Yorkers to the nearest toilet, including Charmin-sponsored SitOrSquat, NYRestroom.com or the 99-cent iPee Address - Restroom Finder.

But George said he was disappointed by the competition.

Some don't automatically show only the open restrooms, and others don't show walking directions, he said.

With his site, the ultimate goal is to get thousands of businesses to sign with "restroom hours," he noted.

George just started reaching out to retailers he hopes will be willing to list their porcelain oases.

"It would be a nice thing to do," George said. "If the business opens [its bathroom] up, I might go back."