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 public bathrooms in the city.

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

“I was on the verge of peeing my pants, and I had been turned away from multiple locations that either said their bathroom was for employees only, or they didn’t have a bathroom,” the Long Island native and aspiring opera singer told CNN. Finally, she encountered a McDonald’s where she was able to use the bathroom, but only after buying a product.

To avoid another close call, Siegel started making short videos on TikTok to document free and clean bathrooms she could use when needed. “This is something I really wanted for myself,” she said.

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

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

While the TikTok account may sound quirky, Siegel says it has allowed her and followers to learn more about accessibility issues in New York City. Commentators often share stories about the hardships they endure looking for safe, clean, and free bathrooms.

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

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

To help, Siegel has partnered with ClearPath, a nonprofit organization providing resources to homeless youth in NYC, to create a spreadsheet of accessible bathrooms people can use.

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

Courtesy Teddy Siegel

She also uses TikTok’s built-in functions to make her videos as accessible as possible to New Yorkers in a pinch. For instance, she made dedicated playlists to highlight bathrooms offering free menstrual products, include changing tables, and are gender-neutral. She also created a Google Map where users can add publicly available bathrooms on their own and edit the information

The popularity of her account is “a very big wake-up call to NYC that they’re miserably failing in providing sanitary and accessible bathrooms to their people,” said Siegel.

“This has always been an unspoken truth in NYC, that there are no bathrooms,” she said. “All of the bathrooms are literally locked away, 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 all positive. Siegel said multiple videos have been taken down by TikTok, and she is currently temporarily blocked for violating community guidelines, but wasn’t sure which ones.

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

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

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