Installation

This is one of those fancy French pay potties being erected on Vegamótastígur just off Laugavegur in Reykjavík. I think this is the second one in town, the first being all the way downtown at Ingólfstorg, where all the little skater kids practice their ollies and slides.

While I was taking this picture, one of the worker guys kind of guffed and mumbled scoffingly, "You're taking pictures of this?"
I replied, "Yes, of this monstrosity."
"Monstrosity? What do you mean?" he questioned, sounding kind of offended.
"I mean that it's ridiculous and that on weekends there are going to be more guys peeing on the outside of it than ever pay to go inside." And I pointed at the two bars just a few yards away.

But I guess they're good for tourists, eh? I mean the locals know that all you have to do is go up to the second floor of Mál og Menning, the big bookstore at Laugavegur 18, and use the toilet there (when you go up the main stairs its through the door to the right.) Or of course just pop into just about any coffee shop, grab a latte to go and use the facilities.

But its nice to offer this kind of service, at a 100 kronur per pop, to our friends from other countries. Valentina tells me that you have to be 10 years old to use these auto potties by yourself. That's good to know.

I've just never actually seen anybody use the one at Ingólfstorg, and this one is in a much stranger location, propped up on an odd side street that runs between Laugavegur and Skólavörðurstígur, just a wall's width from the midtown jailyard (that's the jail wall in the photo). Are there going to be signs posted throughout town directing visitors to this unit, or are the city planners just hoping people will stumble upon it by happenstance, or maybe find out by word of mouth?

Anyway, its already been tagged with grafitti and I guarantee by the end of the weekend it will have been put to use as a relief station, just wrong way out.

6 comments:

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GummiE said...

You're so right. Monstrosities. I guess the only way to make these pay potties popular is to steal the concept from the installation outside of Tate Modern:

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/4326340/

Anonymous said...

Have you thought that the reason this site was selelcted is because there has been a men's "pisseri" at this location forever, but what were the women to do? Go down to Bankastraeti and down a few steps and there it was, one on each side of the street. Can't remember if it was for free, but there defiantely was an attendant on site

Maria Alva said...

Is that you, Mom? I didn't know about the men's pisseri at that location. Funny how things come around.

Absolutely true about the public bathrooms on Bankastræti 0 (yep, the streeet address is Zero)! I'd forgotten about them! They are located underground on each side of the street (men one side, women other) right by the Tourist Info Center. They are very clean, well-lit and have traditionally been taken care by efficient, business-like attendents.

I wonder if the city is planning to close them to try to make money off of people's basic needs? I mean, out at the Keflavik Airport they've put up a gate so that now you have to pay to drop off or pick people up. I'll be sure to take a look at the bathrooms next time I walk Bankastræti. I know those toilets have saved Valentina and countless other kids from many an accident.

By the way, that Art Toilet is very, very cool!!!

damien said...

I actually tried to use the one down by that square, when I was in town for airwaves. I did'nt have a 10kr coin though.