Friday, December 31, 2010

Doug's Fish Fry

8 County Road 22, Skaneateles, NY 13152
Grade: A-

Considering that Skaneateles was crawling with soaking wet tourists (we were there for the Dickens Christmas festivities in the middle of a gigantic snowstorm), I was extremely impressed with Doug's men's room. First of all, this is not the sort of place I would expect to have a stylish, functional bathroom in the first place. So I was certainly pleasantly surprised to see the seafoam-painted walls, the potted plant, the decorative wood wallboards, the above-average floor tiles and the unique light fixture. The sink is automatic and the paper towel dispenser is easy to use without having to touch anything. There is a framed, typewritten note that claims to be from the editor of Playgirl turning down the restaurant's proprietor for a centerfold photo spread in her magazine. This is very funny. The one slight drawback is that the soap dispenser is set at a slightly awkward angle, and it's fairly difficult to pump soap using your right hand. But this can be forgiven considering all of the other nice touches.

What struck me the most, though, was how clean the facilities were given the busy situation and the inclement weather. I've said before that I don't give points for a restroom's cleanliness, as I have a reasonable expectation that bathrooms should be clean to begin with. I'm willing to make an exception here. The restroom at Doug's could have been excused for a slightly messy appearance given the number of people with dripping boots who must have passed through, but it's clear that the staff work hard to keep it clean anyway. For this I salute them.

(It should be noted that the reason for this cleanliness may be that no one uses the restroom. After eating all of that fried food, you most likely would not be able to go to the bathroom for a day or so.)

Thursday, December 30, 2010

The Syracuse Suds Factory

320 S Clinton St, Syracuse, New York 13202
Grade: D+

This isn't so much a proper post as it is a sort of a homecoming. I've been having problems texting pictures for some time now, and I've just worked around it so that I can get back to work. I assure you that there will be much more where this came from.

There's not much to say anything about the bathroom at the Suds Factory, anyway. Filthy, graffitied, missing a soap dispenser, no auto flushing or sinks, etc. The exposed pipes near the ceiling are ugly, but the exposed brick is a nice touch. I'm not going to give them too much credit for that, though. Also, a friend of mine said that he entered the men's room once to discover a man standing at the urinal and making... unpleasant noises. Sure it's not the establishment's fault, but you know. It doesn't help.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Regal Carousel Mall Stadium 17

9586 Carousel Center, Syracuse, NY 13290
Grade: C+

There is very little to set this movie theater restroom apart from others. The urinals are set up in such a way that if you stand at the furthest one to the right, you are a single step away from people in the lobby being able to see you. Props to the single Xlerator dryer, but auto-flushing toilets and urinals would have been nice.

One interesting thing is that the condom-type dispenser on the wall is not filled with condoms at all, but instead with breath mints and a knockoff Calvin Klein cologne. As far as I can tell, these are items that are (at least in theory) more likely to cause a pregnancy than to prevent it. I see this as being terribly irresponsible on the part of the theater owners.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Ruby Tuesday, Carousel Mall

9613 Carousel Center, Syracuse, NY 13290
Grade: B

While not unpleasant, the Carousel Mall Ruby Tuesday men's room is shrug-inducing at best. Some decorative wall and floor tiles dress up what is otherwise a very ordinary bathroom, including manual paper towel dispenser (no hand dryers), pump soap dispensers and manual flushing toilets. The urinals are automatic, and in fact are extremely sensitive - I walked a good distance by one and it flushed. This could be a good thing (you won't have to touch anything to get it to flush) or a bad thing (you may have to explain to your date why you have water all over your crotch... but then you might want to explain why you took her to Ruby Tuesday as well).

I've been writing about tiles nonstop at work for the past two days and I've learned way more about them than I ever thought I would. I wonder what the P.E.I. rating, C.O.F. and water absorption are for these ones. Probably II, .50 and semi-vitreous, respectively. Psh. They could do a lot better.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Westcott Theater

524 Westcott St., Syracuse, NY 13210
Grade: D

I saw an episode of Judge Judy a few days ago in which a woman was suing a man for throwing up on her and ruining her dress. The woman was in attendance at a show by the man's band. She had never heard of the band, and just figured she would stop in to check it out. Midway through the set, the man reached down from the stage offered her his hand. She climbed up with him, excited to be so involved. Then, without warning, he hurled all over her. She was, of course, very upset and felt that he should pay for her ruined dress. His defense was that she should have known that he was going to throw up on her because it was a regular part of the band's act, as depicted on the flyers for the show. The venerable Judge said that, a) she would never personally attend one of this guy's shows, but even if she did, b) she would not divine from a poster depicting said man throwing up that she would herself be thrown up upon. Judgement for the plaintiff in the amount of...

What I'll say about the Westcott Theater's bathroom is that I could easily see an outraged, vomit-covered woman cleaning herself off at the sink. Granted, I'm not sure why she would be in the men's room. But still. Everything is run down and broken, with grime embedded so deep in the cracks I doubt the place could ever be clean. The stalls are a sickly split pea color. It's a hole. But is that why you're there?

By the way: I was there to see Usury, who put on a very good show (check out his Myspace page).

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Regal Cinemas Shoppingtown Mall 14, DeWitt

3649 Erie Blvd. East, Syracuse, NY 13214
Grade: B+

Okay. I consider this to be a somewhat family-friendly blog. I want a diverse variety of readers to be able to get enjoyment from it. If this blog were a film, it would most likely garner a PG to a PG-13 rating, depending on daily subject (we are, after all, talking about bathrooms here).

That said, do not click on the Google maps address link above if you are easily offended. I searched for the address to link to, like I do with all of my posts. It just so happens that a fairly hilarious, one-sentence, poorly punctuated and capitalized review for this movie theater (specifically, oddly enough, its restroom) was posted on July 11, 2010 by someone named Dan. So if you are of the sort who appreciates an R-rated laugh every now and then, feel free to click on that link and click on "reviews." I don't know how these things happen. I just write about them.

Also, I'm not certain whether said review is a statement of fact or just a lame joke. Therefore, I will not let it affect my review of this men's room.

Rest assured that my review is much less graphic. This is a fairly nice men's room with Xlerator hand dryers, disposable toilet seat covers, automatic sinks, auto-flushing toilets and urinals and a unique color scheme. The only thing holding it back, really, is a distinct feeling of cheapness that I couldn't quite put my finger on. I suppose everything feels just a little too artificial; it almost feels cartoonish in its attempts to be bright and lively. It immediately struck me as how a bathroom in Mega Man Legends might have looked, if there were bathrooms in that game. Peep the last image below to see what I'm talking about.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Olive Garden, DeWitt

3147 Erie Blvd. East, Syracuse, NY 13214
Grade: A-


Look, I'll just go ahead and say it: supremely unhealthy mega-corporate chain restaurants tend to have amazing restrooms. Sue me. They've got the money and the high-minded designers to pull it off. They have tons of customers and care very much about their image. No matter how you feel about supporting local business (which I try to do as often as possible) instead of these monsters, you've got to admit that you enjoy a comfortable, posh bathroom, no matter where it is.

So sure Olive Garden's men's room is filled with sterile corporate detail: marble countertops, faux-Tuscan decorative wall and floor tiles, black and white photos of Italian architecture and people, wooden stall dividers, a golden frame around the mirror. But you know what? It works. It's clean, comfortable and, though cheesy, classy enough. The toilets and urinals automatically flush. The sink hardware gleams. The counter was fairly covered with water, but it was a Friday night when I visited.

My guess is that every single Olive Garden you might visit in this country would have the same exact restroom. The layout of the DeWitt restaurant is, after all, identical to those of the Monroeville and Greentree locations outside of Pittsburgh. But at least while they are slowly killing us with refined carbohydrates and cheese sauces, stealing customers from locally owned business, and contributing to the general homogenization and blandness of American culture, they are giving us some great bathrooms in the process.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Anthony's Pasta Bar

126 East Genesee St., Syracuse, NY 13202
Grade: B-

Anthony's unisex restroom is small but nice enough. The walls are painted a cream color, and the cappuccino artwork is fitting. There are wooden floors and an incredibly effective raspberry air freshener sitting on the back of the toilet. The soap dispenser is empty, but there is a pump bottle sitting on the sink. Water temperature control is decent.

There are a few cosmetic issues with the bathroom that are holding it back, such as an exposed electrical fitting hanging from the ceiling and some unsightly plumbing. The biggest problem, though, is the door. The lock in the knob is busted, and a small latch that fits into a hole drilled in the frame is the substitute. The fit is a little off, though, and the door does not close firmly.

Also: there is a long, narrow, somewhat creepy hallway leading back to the restroom.