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asian art gallery met museum restroom-NYC-Untapped CitiesImage via metmuseum.org

Having a drink on The Great Hall Balcony Bar of the Metropolitan Museum is a treat accompanied by live classical music. But finding a restroom without a line at the Met can be just as difficult as finding some of the secrets of this famous museum. Luckily, the best and least-used restrooms at the Met are just a few steps away in the Charlotte C Weber Galleries of Ancient Chinese Art tucked away among art ceramics, bronze and jade from ancient China.

These undiscovered restrooms large, spacious and wonderfully without a line, located midway in the galleries. Their “undiscovered” status is likely due to the fact that the restrooms lack any clear indication of the relief for visitors to the Grand Balcony Bar or weary museum-goers. So how to find the restrooms? The curators of ancient Chinese art have left a sly hint indicating their presence.

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In the vitrine directly opposite the restroom entrance is a display of ancient pottery. The chat card explains that these early examples of high-fire, glazed ceramics are notable for their lime glaze. Further, “the yellowish green color” is due to the presence of iron.”  Surely the curators don’t mean to link these early ceramics with other things exhibiting the same “yellowish green” hues?  Or do they?

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The vessel labeled as a huzi or “tiger vessel features four paws that allow it to rest securely on its base, and a handle allowing for its easy manipulation. Tail end, a flat surface allows the vessel to stand on its end, presumably after it has been filled.  At its front end, it boasts a large opening, obviously designed to receive and pour out liquids.

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Museum-goers may note that the huzi is also artfully designed to comfortably fit certain aspects of anatomy, as a huzi is actually a male urinal.  Standing sentinel opposite the doors to the restrooms, the huzi urinal welcomes those in need into a set of spacious and under-utilized restrooms.

These photos of the empty restrooms were taken on a busy Friday afternoon when long lines of museum-goers waited for other restrooms.

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The restrooms themselves are, hands down, the best bet for bathroom visits at the Met. Spacious, clean and always underutilized, let’s think of them as the bathrooms for those New Yorkers “in the know,” at least when it comes to restrooms. Half a dozen sinks stand at the ready alongside.

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Can it be a coincidence that the curators of the Chinese collection left an additional huzi on display on the Met’s Great Hall Balcony Bar?  This splendid specimen (pun intended) from the 6th century, features the prized celadon glaze.  The museum chat card describes it as a “fanciful vessel.”  Indeed.

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When it comes to the best bathroom at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, let’s just think of these splendid but hidden restrooms as a trip from vitrine to latrine.  Enjoy.

Next, read about The Top Ten Secrets of the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Pierre Hughyes Rooftop Sculpture Installation.  Contact the author of this article @KimDramer.

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