Boardwalk Oasis: One Brighton Beach Bathroom Is a Step Above the Rest

Most of the public bathrooms in Coney Island are pretty unremarkable. The NYC Parks Department operates several beige and white cinder-block “comfort stations” that offer visitors simple, efficient and (usually) clean facilities. But one of the women’s rooms on the boardwalk stands out from the rest.

For years, I wondered who was behind the decorations.

 

Years ago, before I lived in Brighton Beach, I walked into the restroom near Brighton 2nd St and was surprised and delighted by what I saw. Wreaths of silk flowers bordered the mirrors, photographs adorned nearly every wall and gospel music played over the sounds of flushing toilets and roaring hand dryers.

I felt like I had stumbled into someone’s secret garden–a little oasis on the boardwalk and, for years, I wondered who was behind it.

For the past couple of months, I have been covering Southern Brooklyn as a freelancer for DNAinfo. While thinking about local stories to pitch, I remembered the bathroom andย  took the opportunity to investigate this little mystery.

As it turns out, the woman behind the restroom ambiance is a 63-year-old Parks Department seasonal employee named Hazel Chatman. For nearly 20 years, she has spent summers beautifying the bathroom she works in.

I was really happy to get to meet Chatman, who, it turns out, is as lovely as her decorations. To hear her story, check out this short video that I made for DNAinfo.

Click here for the full story on DNAinfo.

 

One Response to Boardwalk Oasis: One Brighton Beach Bathroom Is a Step Above the Rest

  1. I remember being in Hazel’s bathroom the day Ralph and I came out to visit you! Life in NYC would be so different if there were more Hazels. Thanks for the great detective work, Alissa! ๐Ÿ™‚

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One Response to Boardwalk Oasis: One Brighton Beach Bathroom Is a Step Above the Rest

  1. I remember being in Hazel’s bathroom the day Ralph and I came out to visit you! Life in NYC would be so different if there were more Hazels. Thanks for the great detective work, Alissa! ๐Ÿ™‚

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Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *