Penn's Landing not so offal email@example.com
ON A HOT Sunday afternoon, Damon Oliver of West Chester was relaxing
with his girlfriend at Penn's Landing, watching the ducks and the duck
boats on the river, when he felt a sudden urge to purge.
Quickly making his way to the public restroom at Chestnut Street and
the river, he was smacked by the smell of marinating human feces.
"I dreaded going in," Oliver messaged the Philadelphia Daily News
Stinkmeister, voice of the pee-and-poop-plagued public. "I'm not
psychic or anything, but I had a feeling it wasn't going to be
Bowels in an uproar, Oliver bravely entered the men's room.
"There were five stalls and no toilet paper in any of them," Oliver
remembers. "One toilet was 'officially' out of order. Three others had
excrement-coated seats." That left the one with no door.
Oliver observed that "the only smart people not venturing into this
Stink Palace were the actual maintenance people driving around on their
golf carts. I saw none of them stepping near the restrooms."
This desperate cry for help distressed the Stinkmeister because he
and his large intestine know from personal experience that the Penn's
Landing toilets are the ONLY public potties in that vast bowel-busting,
crapper-challenged urban desert known as the Waterfront District.
Thousands of residents and tourists stroll, jog, bike, sightsee and
party along the Delaware River, chowing down and hydrating until
they're ready to explode.
But the ONLY public restroom in sight looks and smells like an organic composting experiment gone horribly wrong.
Wondering if the defecation demolition derby witnessed by the
complainant had been caused by overwhelming weekend crowds, the
Stinkmeister chose a quiet Wednesday to visit the scene of the grime,
took one step inside and said, "Holy s---!"
The Stinkmeister flashed back to WXPN'S Singer/Songwriter Weekend in
mid-July when, bursting with iced tea and lemonade, he rushed to that
very same restroom and almost slid into the toilets on the wall-to-wall
carpet of manpies and urine.
Two months later in mid-September, the Stinkmeister was amazed to
find the SAME broken toilet covered with the SAME orange highway cone
and the SAME yellow crime scene tape, along with a second toilet filled
to the brim with fermenting feces.
Four toilets had smashed-in stall doors; the fifth had no stall
door. None had toilet paper. No wipes, no ferns, no mansized doggie
bags, no nothing.
Four of the eight urinals were broken and filled with eye-watering blends of pungent urines. Two of the five sinks didn't work.
Outside, the Stinkmeister counted seven uniformed Penn's Landing
Corp. security and maintenance employees chatting together, gazing
thoughtfully at the river, riding around in their official golf carts.
The self-styled "quasi-public" Penn's Landing Corp., where city and
state bureaucrats and elected officials make up a majority of the board
of directors, produces 70 festivals and events annually - but
apparently can't fix a freaking toilet!
The Stinkmeister eyeballed a list of Penn's Landing events and found
no "Antiquing Your Floors By Peeing All Over Them Festival" and no
"Intestinal Jam on the River."
"Over 100 free events with over 1,000,000 people visiting can and do
cause wear and tear," said Penn's Landing Corp. spokeswoman Laurie
Wear and tear? It's raining turds in there, Laurie! It's a Category 5 ----storm!
"Unfortunately, because of the crowds, things do break," said Joe
Brooks, acting Penn's Landing Corp. president. "Our in-house staff
bangs out the lion's share of daily maintenance. If you come back
tomorrow, I bet you the toilets will be repaired - and not because you
called - but if you come back a week from now, there's a chance they'll
be broken again. It's a never-ending battle."
After enjoying a sightseeing boat ride and a stroll along Penn's
Landing, Janet Cruz sent the Stinkmeister this S.O.S. from the
"disgusting" women's restroom:
"How could it be possible that a place that has so many visible
staff members and so many crowd-attracting events has bathrooms that
are toilet paperless, pee all over the floor and toilets with remains
that have been there who-knows-how-long, since the toilets don't even
On a recent reinspection tour, the Stinkmeister saw the same broken
whizzers and crappers, and three uniformed maintenance men relaxing
just outside the bathrooms while a log ridden by three seagulls floated
by. That answer your question, Janet?
Yesterday, two weeks after alerting Penn's Landing Corp., the Stinkmeister revisited the rancid restrooms.
They were gated and locked, sending a clear message from
"quasi-public" Penn's Landing Corp. to the Philadelphians and tourists
it is supposed to be serving: "Go piss in the river!"