Not wanting to be sandwiched between fragrant subway riders is a timeless sentiment, and in the 1900s, bath houses were to thank. However, all good things must come to an end (especially when they’re replaced by even better things), and thus, Greenpoint’s public bath house at 139 Huron St. closed down this time in 1960 according to the December 16 issue of the Greenpoint Weekly Star.
Bath houses were first installed throughout the city in the late 19th and early 20th centuries to rise to meet the needs of those living in tenements without access to individual bathroom facilities or clean running water. And while many today would likely balk at the suggestion of public bathing being the opposite of a disease vector, part of the general goal of said bath houses was to improve public health at the time.
At peak, thousands of neighbors utilized the facility — which was built in a Classical Revival style and featured 25 shower stalls for women, 62 for men, and 2 tubs — daily, though that number dwindled over time, particularly due to passing of legislation that made the bath house no longer mandatory and improvements to local housing conditions. By the end of its 56-year run, the bath house was reportedly only serving around 25 patrons per day. The Huron Street bath house was the last of its kind in Brooklyn, and second-to-last in all of New York City (that title belongs to the Allen Street Bath in LES).
In the years since, the property has housed a warehouse, framing business, furniture business, and beyond. Now it has been turned into “Bath Haus,” which is not a public bathing facility at all, but actually (unsurprisingly) a four-story condo with penthouse apartments going for $3,875,000.
If you’re not in the market for a condo and the McCarren pool is in its off-season, Bathhouse (not to be confused with Bath Haus) offers a sauna, steam room, thermal pools, and spa treatments at 103 N 10 St. — though admittedly not at the same price as the originals (a.k.a. free).