Friday, July 4, 2008

Baruch Bathhouse

from 8/20/05 from pseudo-intellectualism
With their little arms raised high in the air, about 50 children stood on the steps of the abandoned Baruch Houses bathhouse in the Lower East Side on Monday afternoon in the rain, shouting chants and holding homemade poster board signs in support of Michael Beys, a candidate for City Council in District 2.“When do we want a recreation center!” shouted Beys. “Now!” replied the children in unison. “How are we going to do it?” said Beys. “Together!” they yelled. Beys, smiling for photos next to the kids, said he wants to make the renovation of the Baruch bathhouse a “top priority” if he is elected. The building, which he called “dilapidated,” has been ignored for too long, and a community center would be a great use of the underutilized space, he said. The bathhouse, first built in 1901, housed an outdoor pool as well as separate showers and tubs for men and women. After falling into disrepair, the bathhouse was shut down in 1975 during a time of fiscal crisis, said a Parks Department spokesperson. The building’s windows are now encased in cinderblocks and its facade is covered with graffiti. The Parks Department, which owns the property, does not have the funds to renovate and maintain the bathhouse. It would be a tremendous undertaking and would most likely cost far more than tens of millions of dollars — although no formal assessment has ever been done — a Parks spokesperson said. However, if there is public interest and sufficient funding is made available, it would be something they would definitely consider. For now, Parks is currently constructing new turf playing fields at Baruch Playground. Not it all makes sense what Manny was saying in Josh Pais' film (7/31/05 posting) He said he went swimming at the Columbia Street pool and had to watch out getting drowned by Italian kids. The Baruch pool was near Columbia and Rivington.

Postscript: When I was there last on Monday the bathhouse was still boarded up

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