The Pile of Rubble that was the LaGuardia Bathhouse

Posted on: September 10th, 2019 at 5:00 am by

It had been dormant since the 1970s. Now it’s a pile of rubble.

The LaGuardia Bathhouse – built in 1909 – met its unceremonious end last week after months of demolition work. A backhoe currently sits atop the heap of century-old masonry, clearing the site for an empty field.

As previously reported, the city quietly determined in last December that the crumbling building was not structurally sound and at risk of collapse. So, instead, it’ll be replaced by a synthetic turf field for the community; not for organized sports but passive uses like picnicking. All because the city needed more park space during the coastal resiliency-related closure of East River Park in 2020.

The initial timeline was asphalt coating in sometime this month and astroturf 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.

Recent Stories

Four Arrested After Knifing Attack in East Broadway Station

Four men were arrested Wednesday in connection with a stabbing inside the East Broadway F subway station, police said. The alleged attack transpired shortly before 8:30am when the suspects approached the 20-year-old victim and demanded money. When he refused, the perps stabbed him in the forearm. The foursome scattered, but police caught and arrested them […]

Another Petition to Fix the Traffic Bottleneck at the Williamsburg Bridge Approach

Any sort of long-term fix for the bottleneck at the Williamsburg Bridge approach remains elusive. In an effort to keep the issue from languishing as another political football, District Leader Daisy Paez drafted, and is circulating another petition. (Not online just yet.) The goal is to enact real change instead of “false promises and indifference” […]

Clayton’s Corner: One More for the Door [PHOTOS]

Lower East Side documentarian Clayton Patterson returns with his eponymous photo essay series, Clayton’s Corner. Patterson has documented thousands of locals posing at his front door on Essex Street over the last three decades. This unassuming neighborhood portal is legendary amongst locals, even though you probably haven’t heard of it. Hakki Akdeniz. Known professionally as Famous […]

Lower East Side Partnership is Leaving Orchard Street for Essex Crossing

The Lower East Side Partnership is packing up and on the move. Headed toward the greener pastures of Essex Crossing. And now, the space it called home for the last decade-plus is again available. A leasing sign is currently pasted in the window of 54 Orchard Street. The local business improvement district signed a ten-year […]

Bowery Building Razed for New Office Development

The old Bowery tenement that previously housed a restaurant supply company is coming down. In its place, a new five-story office building. Passing by 216 Bowery this week, we spotted half the structure eliminated behind a Black death shroud. Approved permits on file with Department of Buildings indicate that the stout brick tenement at 216 […]