The announcement Tuesday of Nordstrom’s closure appeared as another note in the death knell of Downtown, calling into question how Westfield San Francisco Centre will survive the ongoing spate of shuttering retail.
Financial implications aside, there’s something else that will be lost with the shuttering of the anchor department store—Downtown’s best public women's bathroom.
Nordstrom ascended the throne after the Timothy Pfleuger-designed green marble women's bathroom in Macy’s closed. That elegant Art Deco beauty on the sixth floor—once named one of the top 10 public restrooms in the entire country—was closed to the public after the Union Square department store reduced its footprint. (It’s still a mystery how and if you can access the gem, since it’s not possible via the new storefront retail that opened next to Macy’s.)
The women's public loo in Nordstrom called to mind a more genteel time, when the “rest” in the word “restroom” still meant something. Before you even hit the stalls, there’s a spacious front room with gray velvet couches to lounge on and modern art gracing the walls.
The bathroom was always known for its immaculateness and, contrary to some online reports, it was not closed because of homeless people using it.
On the way to the bathroom, shoppers would likely use another iconic feature of the Westfield mall—a custom spiral escalator. A destination unto itself, one TripAdvisor user called it out in a glowing review.
Built for their aesthetic value, spiral escalators are rare, take up more floor space than a regular moving staircase and are four times as expensive. But you can find another one in the West: at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas.
Julie Zigoris can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org