This New Yorker is using TikTok to document the best public bathrooms in city

(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, opened the “Got2GoNYC” account in 2021 after nearly peeing himself in Times Square.

“I was about to pee my pants, and I’ve been turned away from multiple places saying their bathroom is for employees only or they don’t have a bathroom,” the Long Island native and aspiring opera singer told CNN. . Finally, he came across a McDonald’s where he was able to use the bathroom, but only after purchasing a product.

To avoid another close call, Siegel began making short videos on TikTok documenting free, clean restrooms that he could use when needed. “This is something I really wanted for myself,” he said.

Since then, her account has amassed nearly 100,000 followers, with many people submitting their own information about which restrooms are accessible to the public and even sharing door lock codes.

As of April 2022, her videos have garnered almost a million likes.

While the TikTok account may sound quirky, Siegel says it has allowed her and her followers to learn more about accessibility issues in New York City. Commenters often share stories about the difficulties they face in finding safe, clean and free restrooms.

One follower shared a story about using Got2GoNYC to find accessible bathrooms for the homeless, and another detailed the struggle of trying to find a bathroom at night as a Black delivery driver, Siegel said.

“I have learned more through my followers,” he said. “It really underscores that this is an equity and public health crisis.”

To help, Siegel has partnered with ClearPath, a nonprofit organization that provides resources to homeless youth in New York City, to create a spreadsheet of accessible restrooms people can use.

Teddy Siegel is seen in a TikTok video talking about the ban.

Courtesy of Teddy Siegel

It also uses TikTok’s built-in features to make its videos as accessible as possible to New Yorkers in a pinch. For example, he created dedicated playlists to highlight restrooms that offer free menstrual products, include changing tables, and are gender-neutral. He also created a Google map where users can add publicly available restrooms on their own and edit the information.

The popularity of his account is “a huge wake-up call to New York City that they are failing miserably to provide sanitary and accessible restrooms to their people,” Siegel said.

“This has always been an unspoken truth in New York, that there are no toilets,” he said. “All the bathrooms are literally closed, 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 TikTok has removed several videos and is currently temporarily blocked for violating community guidelines, but she wasn’t sure which ones.

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

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

“It makes you feel like royalty,” he said. “It has classical music, art, and fresh flowers,” as well as free menstrual products and “really nice” attendees.

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