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.

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