These days, a shared experience is everything.
There is a New Yorker on TikTok who reviews sinks at restaurants, stores and other landmarks across NYC like they're works of art, and as silly as that sounds, he's tapping into something all of us can appreciate—a closer look at a ubiquitous NYC experience that we're all missing right now.
Sink Reviews launched on TikTok when the pandemic hit in 2020 and has since garnered 789,000 followers and gotten 9.1 million likes across its 72 videos. It's easy to see why the reviews are popular. They feature closeups of various sinks (many of which we're familiar with, like ones at Aesop, MoMA PS1, the Staten Island Ferry and Sunny's) and a calming voiceover explaining both the triumphs and failures of each one. Then, the sink is given a rating out of five "sinks."
Aesop's sink is, unsurprisingly, heaven-like. "This sink is in a word stunning. The matching gold basin and hardware cast a heavenly glow. And although staggering in proportion, the entire unit appears to float above the ground like a cloud," the voice says, flowing like water out of the sink in question. "The faucet confidently announces itself and the water flow is unquestionably divine. The entire experience of using this sink is so singular, so celestial, it's almost meditative. I give it five sinks."
Tacombi in Nolita, however, failed to impress. It garnered only a single sink:
"They seem to be attempting something with this sink but it's hard to even say what. And I'm mostly just left feeling, quite honestly, offended. If I had to say, I would argue this might be the worst sink in NYC. I give it one sink."
The reverent tone Sink Reviews uses on an otherwise mundane experience is the amusing content we need right now. The creator behind the account, a 35-year-old Brooklyn filmmaker, who wants to keep a low profile, says it resonates with people because not only are people fantasizing about going out, they're looking for media to consume.
It also helps that its unique content we can appreciate. We've all been impressed or totally grossed out by a sink or two in NYC, but we've never looked at them quite in this light.
"Part of it is that it's ubiquitous—something you haven't considered before," he told us. "There are a lot of different sinks and I'm applying the same kind of standards and criteria of criticism that people use when looking at paintings to sinks."
He started his sink reviews back in 2013 after a couple of drinks. He was in a Los Angeles bar and the sink there was "very interesting," he said.
"I did a review on Instagram in jest and kept going and it snowballed," he said. "I never envisioned this being a daily exercise on the internet."
For years, he would intermittently upload a photo and review to Instagram, but it was when the pandemic hit that he downloaded TikTok (like many of us did) and began uploading videos.
When deciding if he should review a sink, he considers if there's a story to tell and if it works aesthetically—spoken like a true filmmaker—but he also takes recommendations from friends and followers. In fact, he's got an entire map of sinks on his "to-do" list.
While many basins are for public use, it's been difficult at times to get the footage he needs since many restaurants and stores have closed and health and safety rules change on a regular basis. But when he does go out, he tries to do them in one fell swoop.
"There are times when I have a bunch of sinks in the West Village and I go on an excursion to knock out as many as can in one go," he said. "Other times, I am just going out to dinner."
Right now, his top three sinks in NYC are the Aesop sink on Bleecker, The Marlton Hotel lobby restroom sink and the newly renovated sink at Greeley Square, which he says is the best municipal sink in Manhattan.
Once the pandemic is over and traveling is more possible, he hopes to review sinks outside of NYC as well. But for now, he'll have to settle for NYC's crop.
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