NYC mom issued public urination summons for 4-year-old’s emergency

Earlier this month, NYC mom Michiko Sasaki and her son, Kobe, were enjoying the Battery Playscape, a playground in Manhattan's Battery Park City when Kobe received nature’s urgent call.

"It was an emergency," Sasaki said, noting that he had also used the bathroom prior to leaving home. "He needed to go again."


They ran to a small building adjacent to the playground and saw a door that appeared to be an out-of-order restroom. 


"We saw the ‘no bathroom’ signs and I panicked," Sasaki said. "He said he needed to go right now."

Turns out there are bathrooms attached to a nearby restaurant, but when standing in the playground, they’re obscured by a building and trees. 


"So we ran behind the building, mindful to find dirt and weeds, and pulled his pants down and went to the bathroom. [We were] mindful that he wasn’t exposed or anything."

But the decision is now costing her $50 and a lot of frustration. 

"Five or six officers just come over right behind us hovering," Sasaki said.

Those officers issued a summons. But the worst part may have been their editorial comments that she said came along with it. 


"‘Oh, your son can’t go to the bathroom beforehand?’" she recalls them saying. "He said, ‘You need to learn to monitor your son’s bathroom cues.’"

She called it "extremely rude and mean."

"Verbally, I would say, abusive."

Turns out what she thought was a closed bathroom is actually park offices. But the bigger picture problem remains: city parks need more bathrooms, she says, and, she adds, she shouldn’t have been issued a summons. 

"Bathrooms are a number one basic human need for everyone in every situation."

In a statement, the Parks Department said that "public urination in parks is prohibited, and we ask everyone to use the designated facilities provided."

They also point out there are other public facilities nearby. 

One other thing Sasaki noticed at the park that wasn’t there before: new signs directing people to the nearest facilities. 


"I mean it’s $50, but still it’s the principle and the idea that this has to happen when a child is in an emergency situation?"