Gross Alert: Man Washes Butt in a Riverside Park Water Fountain

A man was seen pulling down his pants and washing his derriere (French for butt) in the water fountain next to the dog run at 105th Street inside Riverside Park on Monday around 6 p.m. Amanda sent the photos as a Public Service Announcement to the community “so that people are aware and won’t drink from the water faucet on 105th Riverside Park.”

NEWS | 75 comments | permalink
    1. Leon says:

      To further the French theme, this man must be told by the police that the water fountain is not his own personal bidet. No ifs, ands or buts about it…

      • dannyboy says:

        “No ifs, ands or buts about it…”

        I’m assuming that you meant “butts” to complete the witticism. And thank you for lightening up the story.

        And thanks to Amanda for the warning.

        And I hope this man gets the help he requires.

        • NotImpressed says:

          Thanks dannyboy.
          We all got the joke without your explanation.

          • dannyboy says:


            When do you plan on contributing ANYTHING to ANY discussion?

            (other than tell people that ARE discussing the WSR articles how much you are not impressed with them).

      • Look&see says:

        The 1970’s is returning to Riverside Park…and Broadway.

        -Dangerous mix of bikers on pedestrian paths.
        -Homelessness and street begging becoming the new norm.
        -more trash on filthy, broken public sidewalks and in tree pits.

        Zero enforcement.
        No urgency.
        No smart solutions seriously implemented.

        WHY NOT?

        • dannyboy says:

          “The 1970’s is returning to Riverside Park…and Broadway…

          -Homelessness and street begging becoming the new norm.

          Hey, try displacing thousands of our neighbors from their homes and shut down SRO residences and see what happens.
          Did you expect something else?

          • Bruce E. Bernstein says:

            thank you, Dannyboy. nicely said.

            some of the commenters like to treat the homeless as if they are all criminals. while a few are, many are victims and many have mental health problems, only aggravated by homelessness.

        • UWSHebrew says:

          You voted for him! Yes you! Anyone who complains, you are to blame!

        • Takadeep Breath says:

          Re: “The 1970’s is returning to Riverside Park…and Broadway.”

          Really? Oh M’Gosh! That means:
          1) Car windows smashed, radios stolen, glove-boxes trashed?;
          2) Fear of walking on deserted side streets after dark?;
          3) A general sense of lawlessness and breakdown of municipal services?;
          4) Central Park as an abandoned graffitied wasteland during the day and a no-go zone as soon as evening fell?.


          Then again, it’s always hard to convince the Chicken Little’s that being bopped-on-the-head by one acorn does NOT mean “the sky is falling”.

        • KatieInNYC says:

          Yes, isn’t DeBlah blah blasio just great? He has REALLY improved the quality of life for SO MANY NEW YORKERS!!!!

        • David says:

          Send a great big “thank you” to Mayor DeBlasio! West Siders tied overwhelmingly for him, and now they are reaping the harvest!

    2. 'Elpful 'Enry says:

      Hey, kids:
      Bored with this yukky summer weather?
      Can’t find a decent summer job?
      Want to polish your resumé for Harvard “B” school?

      Become a business person!
      1) Find a place selling bottled-water cheap;
      2) Make a sign advertising “Pure Bottled Water. No BUTTS about it! $3 bucks/2 for $5”
      3) Bike on over to that fountain and wait for thirsty customers.

      Think of yourself as a young Warren Buffet. BUT, be prepared to defend yourself against the New Anti-Capitalism Crowd.

    3. robert says:

      I would hope that the Parks dept would bleach and steam clean All the fountains in all off the parks. If he did it here I bet he used other locations.
      Even with this snap I don’t know how many times I have seen dogs with paws up on top of the fountain drinking I always bring an extra baggie, fill it with water and let my Lab drink from that

    4. Sherman says:

      It’s nice that the UWS is so safe and welcoming that people feel comfortable doing stuff like this in public.

      • Bruce E. Bernstein says:

        I’m fairly confident that safety and comfort is not what this man is feeling.

        do you think mentally troubled / mentally ill homeless people feel a sense of safety and comfort?

    5. Sid says:

      Yes! Demonize the poor without doing to anything actually help them. Yes this is gross, but shouldn’t be news to anyone who has lived in this city for an extended period of time.

      • Mark Moore says:

        Pfft. How many homeless shelters are there on the UWS?

        • Bruce E. Bernstein says:

          Mark said:

          “Pfft. How many homeless shelters are there on the UWS?”

          Actually, very few — the laast time i looked, 3 in Community Board 7, and i think one has closed.

          Supportive Housing facilities are not “homeless shelters.”

          Contrary to what some commenters seem to think, the UWS is not inundated with homeless shelters, when compared to other areas, such as Central Harlem and the South Bronx. Yes, we have more than the Upper East Side.

          if you’re going to complain about something, shouldn’t you understand how it works?

          • Leon says:

            Since you are so righteous, can you tell us what you are doing to help the homeless people in our neighborhood?

            Are you bringing them coffee when they are sleeping on your stoop?

            Serving them meals (only purchased at small, local, family owned businesses, of course) while they are taking up an entire bench on the subway (which I am seeing much more often now)?

            Paying first and last month’s rent on their apartments?

            There is no excuse for this man’s behavior. Please stop with the whataboutisms and diversionary tactics. How would you explain it to your elementary school aged child if they were walking through the park, about to walk over to this fountain to get a drink, and saw this.

            • Bruce E. Bernstein says:

              I happen to have two children, one just graduated from elementary school. and they see the homeless every day.

              I would explain that this is a very ill man, and that he should be in care. And that being homeless makes him even more ill.

              Elementary school children can understand that. i wonder why you can’t?

            • Leon says:

              Yes. He should be in care. Not bathing himself in a water fountain. There are plenty of facilities for his care. They might not all be in our neighborhood, but they exist in this city. Someone who behaves in this way should immediately be taken to one of these places. Mental illness is not an excuse for disobeying the law.

              I have always considered myself to be a liberal Democrat who believes that we should go out of our way to aid those who are less fortunate. But the bleeding heart liberalism displayed by some on this site really amazes me. Welcome to the real world – it must be really nice in fairy tale land.

            • Bruce E. Bernstein says:

              I love the number of right-wing rants on this site that start with “I consider myself a liberal Democrat.”

              No. Sorry. you’re not. At least not on this issue.

              I would be interested in you explaining exactly which of my comments on this issue represent “bleeding heart liberalism” and “fairy land.”

              And then i would be interested in you explaining which particular homeless policy in NYC today you disagree with, and how you would improve the policy.

              you went into an over-the-top rant (“over the top” is a kind word for it) about how I should personally solve the homeless problem through my own resources… such as serving meals to people sleeping on the subway, etc. and this in response to my just stating simple facts — such as that the UWS is not the citywide locus for homeless shelters! on contrast to what some commenters like to say.

              Yours was just empty rhetoric aimed at attempting to silence people who express any liberal and left of center thinking. Most “liberal Democrats” don’t engage in that type of demagogy. you seem very very angry at the Department of Homeless Services, which is run by Steven Banks, one of the most well-informed and progressive people in government. maybe you could explain what he is doing wrong — that might lead to an intelligent discussion.

              most liberals and progressives believe we need MORE supportive housing, not less. And that supportive housing should be in all parts of the city. The UES needs more, but the UWS is not a “dumping ground.” Those would be Harlem, South Bronx, Southeast QUeens… mostly poor and black / hispanic neighborhoods.

    6. Stephen says:

      Lovely Riverside Park?
      Take a stress free, relaxing sunset Olmstedian stroll along the Riverside Park waterfront pedestrian promenade…but dodge dozens of speeding bikers who should have their own safe, dedicated path.

      Then take a sip in a lovely drinking fountain for that fresh, clean, Croton Aqueduct filtered water…but beware of fecal matter from unsanitary bathing habits inside the basin.

      Welcome to the 1970’s. It’s coming back.

    7. michael says:

      And people complain that dog owners are a nuisance?

    8. Ben David says:

      Many people will find this humorous, but it is another example of life under a De Blasio administration. We live in an city where our elected officials from the Democratic party fight for the rights of New Yorkers to urinate in the streets and jump subway turnstiles. And of course, the rights of the homeless to live and bathe in our streets is sacred. The rapid decline of our quality of life and safety continues, and this is one more, sad example.

    9. Heyyyy says:

      Only in NY. You’ve gotta be pretty desperate to consider drinking from any park water fountain, though–God only knows what pigeons & rats do in those, let alone people. Tourists remain painfully unaware of this sort of thing, & continue hugging the subway pole w both hands.

    10. Steen says:

      The most bizarre aspect of this is that the dog run has a full wash pad, and yes, I’ve seen homeless guys bathe there at night.

      This is some sick fetish and not for cleanliness.

    11. Lord Of The Slice says:

      this is so vile.

    12. Adam says:

      You mean this is not where we’re supposed to be washing our butt’s?? Darn, I was just about to head up to that fountain & do some butt washing myself. LOL!!

    13. Bridget says:

      Note to self. Don’t drink from any public water fountains.

    14. Paul Heikkila says:

      One fellow puts a rock on top of the button to keep the water running while he has his lunch on the fountain on the upper level at 120 St. And dogs are often allowed to drink from the fountain a bit north of the dog run by the stairs coming down from the 108 St. steps. I run in Riverside Park. There’s a good water fountain below the dog run at 80 St. And 116 St. on the upper level is pretty drinkable as well. I’ve been running on past the fountain in the story for years. It is simply gross.

    15. Jimbo says:

      OMG And I thought when I saw MULTIPLE DOG OWNERS allow their large dogs to jump up and slurp all over the fountain spigot that that was gross.

    16. Bruce E. Bernstein says:

      you didn’t publish a picture of the man’s face… but still…

      it’s a little tacky to publish a pic of a homeless, mentally ill man like this.

      warn people away from the fountain? by all means… that’s a public service. and of course describe what happened there so people can avoid drinking.

      but this is a gravely ill man, and living on the streets certainly doesn’t make him less so.

      • Lord Of The Slice says:

        it’s tacky to admonish a news org. for publishing important health information to the general public.

      • Scott says:

        If he’s gravely ill, Bruce, that’s an argument for government to step in and force him into an institutional setting. But liberals have fought bitterly against that, and in fact will sue to prevent it. I know you guys love to blame Reagan and all for the homeless crisis, but here in NY, it was liberals and the NYCLU who caused it.

        • Bruce E. Bernstein says:

          I don’t know the conditions and laws under which people can be “forcibly” (your words) institutionalized. I think common sense says we have to be careful with that. Maybe you have a better familiarity.

          but it is a little ridiculous to blame the homeless crisis in NYC on the NYCLU. the crisis exists in every city in this country. it is partly a crisis of mental health and, to a large extent, a crisis of affordable housing and income inequality.

          • Scott says:

            Well it’s simply a fact that the NYCLU, led by Bruce Ennis, shuttered mental institutions throughout the state. You can talk about income inequality all you want; that problem goes back to the Stone Age. What really drove this catastrophe was lawsuits.

            • Bruce E. Bernstein says:

              Scott said:

              “You can talk about income inequality all you want; that problem goes back to the Stone Age. What really drove this catastrophe was lawsuits.”

              I was ready to have an intelligent discussion with you, but you started throwing out fallacies, which tend to end discussions.

              The affordable housing crisis in NYC did not go “back to the stoneage”; it has really accelerated in just the last 10 years. Look at the UWS, where most apartments were affordable until relatively recently.

              Income inequality has gotten much much worse in America in he last 30 years; that is measurable and proven, just go look at Branko Milanovic’s work, or read a little Paul Krugman.

              by the way, Bruce Ennis was an attorney for the ACLU, not the NYCLU.

              You don’t believe we have to be cautious about the conditions of forced institutionalization?

            • dannyboy says:

              Scott, the canard that lawsuits are the cause of homelessness is absurd.

              But I do love how you dismiss income inequality. You must know that We’re #1!!!

              NY is #1 in income disparity in America

              and America is #1 in income disparity in the world.

              We’re #1!
              We’re #1!

            • Scott says:

              Of course care must be used in involuntary commitments. You used the phrase “gravely ill.” Would that not be one of the precursors for an involuntary commitment?

              Since homelessness suddenly became a problem in the 1980s, after deinstitutionalization and Callahan v. Carey, I will conclude that those were the primary drivers, not affordable housing. NYC housing was actually very affordable in 1981. Using your logic, homelessness shouldn’t have been a problem back then.

              Ennis was a staff attorney for the NYCLU.

            • dannyboy says:

              Scott, you explained that affordable housing did not cause homelessness in 1981 as housing was affordable, therefore other causes.

              Forward to the last 10 years. The lack of affordable housing and the displacement of people from affordable housing has become the #1 cause of homelessness.

              I see what you did there.

    17. NotImpressed says:

      Cleanliness is next to godliness.

    18. Ali says:

      It’s not only on 105th RIver Side Park. I’ve seen a homeless man doing the same thing in Central Park. I stopped drinking from all park’s water fountains.

    19. robert says:

      For those of you that don’t think “the 1970’s” are making a come back here on the UWS and in NYC in general take a look mat the NYPD numbers for the 24 precinct below. The precinct goes from 110 to 86 and river to Central Park
      Take not overt the past year crime is nearly 2 1/2 precinct and over the past 2 years nearly 7%. This year robbery is up over 26% as are other crimes. Take a look at the numbers from the most recent week, moth and year over year below

    20. Jane says:

      As public funding decreases expect to see more people forced to do things like this. Instead of advocating enforcement, why not advocate for public showers?

      • dannyboy says:

        “Instead of advocating enforcement, why not advocate for public showers?”

        Because punishment?

        just a wild guess

        • NotImpressed says:

          Have you offered your shower to homeless people?

          • Bruce E. Bernstein says:

            NotImpressed said:

            “Have you offered your shower to homeless people?”

            This is an attempt to cut off any liberal or left-of-center idea on homelessness. You are saying we are hypocrites if we don’t personally use our resources to solve the homeless problem. “Why don’t you bring a homeless person into your living room?”

            it’s a dumb argument, designed to cut off discussion.

          • dannyboy says:

            You consistently misdirect and try to blame someone else.

            The last time you did this was when you decided that the MTA bore no responsibility (even after they offered) for helping the newsstand owner affected by the MTA station shutdown. You felt the MTA should do nothing, but that I should walk a mile to a station that I never use and is now closed, to buy a newspaper that I don’t read, and since I don’t THAT IS THE PROBLEM.

            You repeat the same scapegoating here. You are just too obvious with it.

          • Chrigid says:

            NYC used to have public baths.

    21. Mia says:

      Call the Goddard organization. They have an enormous contract to help the homeless. Then call Helen Rosenthal and see if she’s bothered actually walking around her district and maybe would like to take a stand against the Mayor and Cory Council’s utter failure of a homeless policy. Finally, can we have an article on how candidate are picked? Deblasio is roundly disliked and yet got nominated. This system of limited special interest clubs running the city is archaic. Deblasio should never have had a second term. Shame on anyone who promoted his candidacy.

      • Bruce E. Bernstein says:

        How candidates are picked?

        have you ever heard of party primaries?

        Diblasio won by two landslides, much more than Bloomberg and Giuliani.

    22. B flat says:

      Revolting. Once upon a time NYC had public baths…

    23. Another Martha says:

      FEH! A new low.

    24. Rob G. says:

      I shake my head in amazement that some of you people have the gall to upbraid anyone who lodges a complaint about this type of behavior. It’s irrelevent whether or not the man has mental issues. Do you really not accept the notion that your neighbors have the right to a safe and pleasant place to live? Do you really want to teach your children that you’re okay with this?

    25. NYYgirl says:

      Dear Look&see,
      In the 1970’s all of us kids drank from all of those water fountains after playing in all of those playgrounds with the splintery seesaws, rusty jungle gyms, uneven swings, etc etc (oh yeah and the cracked pavements under all those dangerous playthings- which were very fun btw), and nobody could possibly imagine the concept of anything actually titled a ‘dog run’ down there…likewise no way would my parents have believed that someday people would be paying for and carrying around plastic water bottles all day long … just saying. Yes, the above story is pretty gross but plenty of us here who lived through 1970’s NYC don’t feel the need to blame everything negative that happens now on the UWS on the idea that each instance represents those times returning! And no, I don’t let my kids drink from the fountains because I saw squirrels hanging out in one when they wanted to drink from it, but come to think of it, I guess the squirrels could have learned that behavior in your 1970’s lol.
      PS None of us who really lived here then miss the grime and the crime (anyone remember having to carry ‘mugger money’ every day going back & forth from school?) as many comments here seem to sneer, as in that since we have any memories of anything righteous & good going on in the 1970’s that then we must just clearly be masochists wishing for busted subways & junkies holding us up again—-but what some of us WILL always miss is the true neighborhood feel, much of it helped by the longevity of the many mom & pop stores and their hard-working owners, who knew all of our names & worried about our older family members when they hadn’t seen them for a while. Just because we miss the neighborhood ‘good guys’ and our diverse multi-colored community of fellow tenants from those days, most long gone, doesn’t mean that we like to see somebody use a water fountain for a purpose other than (humans) drinking from it, Really?!

    26. BillyNYC says:

      Butt washing is very common in central park by our homeless friends…. if you had the health department to do test at water fountains the highest level of bacteria or germs wil be found there. Not to mention the rats and raccoons drink from the water fountain and the dog bowl water fountains. Like I said… it’s very common and in my 50 years living here in New York, I’ve seen it all the time that’s why I bring my own water and snacks from home for me and my pooch… We don’t even eat from the refreshment carts.
      Welcome to the jungle!

    27. Joe P. says:

      Some philanthropist ought to fund a few clean stations in the city for just this sort of thing. A shower facility and a place to wash clothes. Not fancy, but staffed by a couple of folks to keep things running smoothly. Everyone should have the opportunity to be clean.

      • dannyboy says:

        This was always the City’s job. Then they switched to providing their services to the Real Estate Industry instead.

        Priorities, you know.

    28. Earthsea says:

      People have been bathing in those water fountains for years !

    29. Dana Desjardins says:

      Well… if not here, in the subway then! Choose your poison.

    30. Anonymous says:

      A lady a couple of years ago was photographed washing her dog’s butt in a Central park water fountain. She wasn’t homeless. She was just a selfish jerk.

      I’m a runner and one really needs water on long runs, but I really hesitate to use water fountains anymore. Perhaps if I disinfect them first…

    31. Nicole says:

      After reading all the comments about the poor homeless in Riverside Park, who have the “nerves” to use the fountains to clean themselves…I think that we are lucky to be able to sleep in a nice bed, to drink in a glass from a nice kitchen, and to take nice worm showers! (I don’t think they like to do what you people are complaining about!!!)

    32. Chrigid says:

      “A man was seen pulling down his pants and washing his derriere”

      That may well be what happened but that is not what the picture shows.

      At this point, his belt and the top couple of inches of his trousers appear to be above the rim of the basin.

      If a jet of water from the fountain even could reach him, it would soak his trousers without doing much for his skin.

      Again, I’m not saying there was no butt washing, but I’m not sure this picture could justify any kind of official action.

    33. B.B. says:

      While technically illegal an so forth, there is a good number of people who “camp out”, live, sleep or whatever in Central Park. This is especially true during warmer times of the year.

      LE patrols are mainly on the drives, and other areas accessed by the pubic; but that still leaves acres of “woods” that are largely undisturbed.

      You go in CP after dark late at night, say after 10PM to walk the dog, or whatever, often you’ll hear “something” rusting in the woods, and it isn’t a animal.

      • Stefan says:

        Spare us all the condescending condoning of any individual who would clean their rear end in a Public drinking fountain.
        Yes, of course we need to vastly overhaul social services and provide an honest safety net for the homeless.
        But let’s get real…
        Many of our elected politicians are in the Hamptons right now – and have to get ready for dinner.

      • Realistic says:

        My gosh people…..listen to you all…take a deep breath!! It’s simple….don’t ever drink from a public water fountain. I raised 2 children in NY and I taught them to NEVER drink from a public water fountain….ANYWHERE!! It common sense.

      • Dissident says:

        You go in C[entral] P[ark] after dark late at night, say after 10PM

        To enter or remain in just about any City park after dark, let alone after 10:00 PM? Is that not highly imprudent?

        (This is not to suggest anything less than full culpability on the part of anyone who preys upon such a fool.)

    34. Civicminded says:

      I find it sad that some comments are so condoning of this disgusting public health violation in a Public Park.
      Stop excusing unacceptable personal responsibility and “I don’t-give-a-damn” behavior!
      Of course the system is unjust and often rotten.
      However, those of you who merely express an oozing with pity reasoning towards any individual who washes their rectum in a Public drinking fountain is… in my view, arrogant and hopelessly hypocritical.

    35. Dissident says:

      1.) A civilized society does not tolerate behavior such as that shown in the photos.

      2.) In determining the degree of culpability on the part of a given individual who has committed an offense, both his mental state as well as his circumstances, must indeed be considered.

      3.) There may be cases where an individual, on account of the nature and severity of mental illness that he suffers, is legitimately deemed not morally culpable for offenses that he commits. Even then, however, the interests of protecting the public and upholding order demand that society act to prevent such an individual from having the opportunity to offend, whatever that may require.

      None of the above statements are mutually exclusive. (Conflations, false dichotomies, and other simplistic, illogical, confused, and otherwise flawed thinking exhibited in the comments notwithstanding.)