Neptune’s trident on the 11th Street public baths

When city officials began opening public baths in poor neighborhoods all over New York, they could have put up cheap, purely functional structures.

Instead, architects designed lovely, dignified bath buildings, like this Beaux-Arts treasure on 11th Street between Avenues A and B.

Built in 1906 and used as a public bath until the 1950s, it has some enchanting ornamental touches—like the fish framing Neptune’s trident.

Landmarked in 2008, the building is now a photo studio.

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4 Responses to “Neptune’s trident on the 11th Street public baths”

  1. Josie Says:

    Great find. I actually used the Allen Street public bath a few times, in the 1970s. It was the last one to close. Here’s a really fancy one, the Asser Levy public bath on East 23rd Street:
    http://www.nyc-architecture.com/GRP/GRP034.htm

  2. mykola (mick) dementiuk Says:

    When I was a kid in the 50s I used to the Asser Levy pools in back of the 23rd St building. They also had an indoor pool but for some reason didn’t let kids use it.

  3. wildnewyork Says:

    Asser Levy is a beauty for sure. I’d love to see that indoor pool with the giant dolphin statue.

  4. Boris Says:

    Do you know for a fact that it was a choice between purely functional buildings and dignified architecture? I believe “functional” buildings were only invented in the middle of the 20th century. For those building the baths, there was no such choice – civic society dictated that every building be dignified, beautiful, memorable, and built for the ages.

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