This New Yorker uses TikTok to document the best public restrooms in town

(CNN) — A cheeky New Yorker is going viral for the helpful information she shares on TikTok about the city’s public restrooms.

Teddy Siegel, 22, started the “Got2GoNYC” account in 2021 after nearly peeing in Times Square.

“I was about to pee my pants, and I had been turned away from several places that either said their bathroom was for employees only or they had no bathroom,” the Long Island native and aspiring opera singer told CNN. . Finally, she came across a McDonald’s where she was able to use the bathroom, but only after buying a product.

To avoid another close call, Siegel began making short videos on TikTok documenting free, clean bathrooms she could use when needed. “It’s something I really wanted for myself,” she said.

Since then, her account has amassed nearly 100,000 followers, with many people posting their own information about publicly available bathrooms and even sharing door lock codes.

By April 2022, his videos had garnered nearly a million likes.

Although the TikTok account may seem weird, Siegel says it allowed him and his followers to learn more about accessibility issues in New York City. Reviewers often share stories of the hardships they endure in search of safe, clean, and free bathrooms.

One follower shared a story about using Got2GoNYC to find accessible bathrooms while homeless, and another detailed the difficulty of trying to find a bathroom at night as a black delivery man. , said Siegel.

“I’ve learned the most from my followers,” she said. “It really highlights that this is such a public health and equity crisis.”

To help you, Siegel has partnered with ClearPatha non-profit organization providing resources to homeless youth in New York, to create a spreadsheet of accessible bathrooms that people can use.

Teddy Siegel is seen in a TikTok video talking about being banned.

Courtesy of Teddy Siegel

She also uses TikTok’s built-in features to make her videos as accessible as possible to New Yorkers in a snap. For example, she created dedicated playlists to highlight bathrooms offering free menstrual products, include changing tables, and be gender neutral. She also created a Google Map where users can add publicly accessible bathrooms themselves and edit the information.

The popularity of her account is “a very big wake-up call for NYC that they are failing miserably to provide sanitary and accessible bathrooms for their residents,” Siegel said.

“It’s always been an unspoken truth in New York, that there are no toilets,” she said. “All the bathrooms are literally locked, but it’s illegal to use the bathroom in public, so what are people supposed to do?”

Still, the response to Got2GoNYC hasn’t been entirely positive. Siegel said that several videos have been removed by TikTok and that she is currently temporarily blocked for violating community guidelines, but does not know which ones.

TikTok did not respond to CNN’s request for comment.

As for Siegel’s favorite bathroom in town? She says it’s in Bryant Park.

“It makes you feel like royalty,” she said. “There’s classical music, art, and fresh flowers,” plus free menstrual products and “really nice” attendants.

About Marilyn Perkins

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