Happiest Season
Subscribe To
The Advocate
Scroll To Top

#TBT: Back to the Baths

Our culture has abandoned its closets. And this is a good thing — but in doing so, we've lost the bathhouse. In the beginning, gay bars had mysterious names like Incognito and The Mask and rarely had windows. So many of them have vanished from our cities thanks, in no small part, to the easy availability of sex via apps and websites. Bathhouses are in severe decline, and the few that remain are widely seen as centers for illicit drug use and transmission points of STIs. 

They were always sexy cruizing zones and always home to some mind-altering substances, but in decades past, that made little difference — the bathhouse was the place to be. The bathhouse has a long, storied history as not only a place of sexual assignation but as a cultural hub — Bette Midler, after all, started her career singing in them. Let's take a trip down the slippery tiles of memory lane. 

 

1950s TIMES SQUARE VINTAGEx633

Just a couple of executives looking for a relaxing evening at the baths in Times Square in the 1950s. 

See more bathhouse history on the following pages >>>

Pages

From our Sponsors

READER COMMENTS ()