New York City

More baby changing stations have been installed at New York City parks

The city is ahead of schedule in its goal to equip nearly every parks bathroom by 2027.

New York City parents will more often find diaper changing tables at city parks bathrooms compared to a few years ago.

New York City parents will more often find diaper changing tables at city parks bathrooms compared to a few years ago. gerenme/Getty Images

It’s a gift for all New York City parents.

On Thursday, New York City Parks and Recreation Department Commissioner Sue Donoghue will announce that the department has installed 600 new baby changing stations in public park restrooms this year, bringing the vital amenity to over 1,200 bathrooms in total. The news comes three years ahead of a deadline set by the City Council last year requiring the city to provide diaper-changing tables at nearly every parks department bathroom by 2027. The stations, which are easy to clean, durable, moisture resistant, and ADA compliant, are also now a standard feature installed in any new or renovated parks restroom.

Progress has been significant over the past couple of months. As of 2020, only 37% of the parks department’s roughly 1,300 restrooms offered diaper-changing tables. When the bill was passed in April 2023, about half were equipped with them. Today, that number is around 90% of restrooms, including mens, womens and all-gender facilities, according to the department. Those deemed to be too small were exempted from the law.

“This Mother’s Day, NYC Parks is giving a gift to all moms, dads, and caregivers to make their lives a little easier! We recognize that baby changing stations are a vital amenity for parents looking to keep their little ones happy, healthy, and clean, which is why we have made diaper changing stations available in the majority of our park restrooms,” Donoghue said in a statement. 

Donoghue is set to join New York City Council Member Rafael Salamanca Jr., the sponsor of the original legislation, at the Hunts Point Playground in the Bronx on Thursday to commemorate the progress made so far.

Bathroom access has been an ongoing issue in the city, which is ranked 93rd out of the 100 largest U.S. cities for the number of public restrooms per capita, according to a 2019 report. Entire websites and social media accounts are focused on telling New Yorkers where they can go. A number of additional bills have been introduced to tackle the problem, but significant progress to increase the number of public restrooms hasn’t happened yet.