Century-Old LaGuardia Bathhouse is Almost Gone [PHOTOS]

Posted on: August 20th, 2019 at 5:05 am by

It sat vacant for four decades. Now, the long-abandoned LaGuardia Bathhouse is finished. A nub of its former self.

Since our last checkup one month ago, the 1909 structure has lost most of its body. Removed brick by brick by men in cherry pickers.

The mural on its western exposure – a depiction of Puerto Rican culture – is another victim here. CityArts commissioned the piece back in the 1970s as part of a series of local murals. Most are gone or severely faded by now.

As previously reported, the city quietly determined in mid-December that the crumbling building is not structurally sound and at risk of collapse. In its place will be a synthetic turf field for the community; not for organized sports but passive uses like picnicking.

The initial timeline was asphalt coating in September and turf surfacing later in the winter. That schedule seems rather rosy, though.

The LaGuardia Bathhouse dates back to December 1909, a time when the area was dotted with many such facilities as a means to combat contagious diseases that spread through the crowded slums of the Lower East Side. It was originally called the 5 Rutgers Place Gymnasium for its location on the since-demapped Rutgers Place. The facility received an upgrade in the 1940s to include an indoor pool and gymnasium. 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 and never recovered.

And soon to become an open field.

Recent Stories

One Year Later, ‘Fiore Escape’ COVID Sessions Still Captivate

One year after first captivating passersby at Essex and Grand Streets, the free fire escape concert series is back for another. Indeed, musician Jill Fiore will perform anew from the second floor of her Essex Street tenement (above Delancey Car Service). The next so-called “Fiore Escape” show is slated for October 15, as announced on […]

Parks Department Installs Fence at Allen Mall Bathhouse in Response to Nadja Rose Madder

The Parks Department is upping the ante on deterring a homeless artist from painting and gathering at the Allen Street Bathhouse. Earlier this week, the city began assembling an eight-foot chain-link enclosure to (partially) fence in the sidewalk plaza. It is on this spot that transgender artist Nadja Rose Madder has been transforming the brickwork […]

Extell Residents in Cherry Street Tower Bark Foul Over Abundance of Dogs Despite No Pet Policy

Residents of Extell’s “affordable tower” at 227 Cherry Street are barking foul over the proliferation of pitbulls, despite the no-pet policy. We are told by current tenants that leases contain a strict stipulation prohibiting pets in apartments, and that management (Wavecrest) seems deaf and/or slow to act about the apparent violations. By some estimates, there […]

Aggro Panhandler Hurls Brick at Pickle Guys Worker in Brutal Attack

An aggro panhandler outside Pickle Guys on Grand Street attacked an employee after he was asked to move away from the store entrance, cops said. The suspect had been aggressively begging at around 8:20am last Wednesday when the 63-year-old worker told him to disperse. That didn’t sit well; the pugilist picked up a nearby chair […]

Educational Alliance Executive Becomes New Head of Manhattan JCC

From the Lower East Side to the Upper West Side. Rabbi Joanna Samuels, the sitting executive director of the Manny Cantor Center at the Educational Alliance, is set to become the new chief executive director of the Marlene Meyerson JCC Manhattan. Her new gig begins early next year, marking a significant transition at one of […]