110-Year-Old LES Bathhouse Deemed Unstable, to be Demolished for Turf Field

Posted on: February 11th, 2019 at 5:00 am by

The LaGuardia Bathhouse, a Lower East Side relic abandoned since the 1970s, is to be demolished in the coming months, and replaced with a new playing field.

The city quietly determined in mid-December that the crumbling building, situated alongside the Little Flower Playground on Madison Street, is not structurally sound and at risk of collapse. Demolition permits are already in place, according to Department of Buildings records.

This seemingly “sudden” determination comes in the context of the search for alternate open space when the city moves ahead with closing East River Park to implement a controversial resiliency plan. You’ll recall that, despite years of upgrades and work along the coastline (i.e. the “Big U”), the city is now scrapping the plan altogether.

The Parks Department announced that Mayor Bill de Blasio has already allocated funds to demolish the city-owned building, and to replace it with a synthetic turf field. Demolition is imminent, but the field is expected to open sometime in spring 2020 – just as the agency expects East River Park to close for more than three years.

The LaGuardia Bathhouse dates back to December 1909, a time when the area was dotted with many such facilities as a means to combat diseases that spread through the crowded slums of the Lower East Side. It was the called the 5 Rutgers Place Gymnasium for its location on since-demapped portion of Rutgers Place. The facility received an upgrade in the 1940s to include an indoor pool and gym. By 1957, the surrounding blocks were razed to create the LaGuardia Houses (NYCHA). Like the Baruch Bathhouse further uptown, though, the facility fell victim to the city’s financial hardship two decades later.

The community previously rallied for its return to form some twelve years ago. Former Councilman Alan Gerson gathered alongside 200 neighbors in 2007 to demand the city take action. It was reported at the time that the renovation job would cost $40 million, plus $1 million per year in operational costs.

Recent Stories

Bowery Boogie Uncapped Presents the Golden Gauntlet Graffiti Battle

Hold on to your hats, kids. It’s all out war on the Bowery! Have you ever wanted to see two graffiti writers battle live? Sure you do! I mean, many of us don’t know what we want until we hear about on the interweb, so you’re welcome. Tomorrow night, PACE SSB and REE MTA will […]

Six-Story Row House Replacement Tops out on Grand Street

At the corner of Essex and Grand Streets, two hundred years of history are officially erased. This six-story building – luxury condos – is the future. The drama here is more than four years in the making. After purchasing 355 Grand Street for $4 million in December 2014, Interboro Properties spent the next two years […]

Rep. Maloney’s ‘RECIPE’ Act Missing Ingredient for Real Revitalization

Last week, U.S. Representative Carolyn Maloney (NY12 District) held a press conference to reintroduce the RECIPE Act (Revitalizing Cities through Parks Enhancement) –  a clever acronym for a bill that proposes $10 million in funding for community gardens and parks through HUD, not just in New York City, but nationwide. La Plaza Cultural Center de […]

Whole Foods Hogs Sidewalk with Amazon Prime Now Delivery Bike Fleet

The Whole Foods on the Bowery thinks it owns the sidewalk. Just look to the entrance, where a gaggle of delivery bikes, with long flatbeds hitched, are parked awaiting parcels. It even wraps around onto the Bowery. This is the fleet of vehicles whose sole purpose is fulfilling Amazon’s Prime Now delivery service. The sidewalk […]

Someone is Growing Corn Stalks on Delancey Street

Talk about farm to table… A guerrilla farmer is growing corn on Delancey Street, but you wouldn’t necessarily notice on first passing. The decrepit flower box outside the Allen Mall Bathhouse on Delancey Street is chock full of plantings. And the growing glut of crap behind it keeps you away. Gaze there, though, and you’ll […]