8. The First Composting Bathrooms in an NYC Park

Welhouse Comfort Station

Inside the Wellhouse Comfort Station, the last remaining building in Prospect Park constructed by park designers Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux, you will find the first composting bathroom in a New York City public park. Similar composting systems are in place at the Bronx Zoo and Queens Botanical Garden. The toilets in the innovative composting system designed by Swedish company Clivis Multrum use 97% less water than a traditional toilet, saving 250,000 gallons of water per year. Water from the sinks, floor drains, and janitor sinks in the comfort station will go into the greywater garden.

The Wellhouse Comfort Station dates back to 1869 when it originally contained the coal-powered steam engine mechanical pumping system that fed the streams and manmade features of Prospect Park. It was rendered obsolete when Prospect Park was connected to the city’s water system and the building fell into disrepair. Along with the addition of the composting system, the building underwent a major restoration. The portico was recreated, a historic paint scheme was applied, a new roof was installed and a significant below-ground excavation was carried out to make room for the new composting bins.