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Prospect Park’s new bathrooms will turn your poop into compost

Rebecca Fontana

It’s the fanciest outhouse ever. New bathrooms opened this week in Prospect Park’s Wellhouse Comfort Station, making it the first time the building's been open for public use in nearly a century and giving those luxurious restrooms in Bryant Park a serious run for their money. The exterior of the station, built in 1869, was refurbished with a new paint job and a new roof, but the main feature is its compost bins.

The bathrooms start their environmental friendliness by using less than six ounces of water instead of a toilet’s typical one-and-a-half gallons—that’s 97 percent less water. The water mixes with a special soap before running down to composting tanks below the bathrooms. Those tanks will be filled with thousands of worms later this year to assist with composting, which is the stuff of nightmares but also really healthy for plants.  

This is the first composting bathroom in an NYC public park, though there are already ones at the Bronx Zoo and New York Botanical Garden. The first batch of compost at Prospect Park will take 10 years of fermentation before it’s complete, but we’ll be holding our breath.


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