I wonder how many people actually spent December 25, 1970 taking in the scene inside the Upper West Side’s infamous Continental Baths?
According to this Village Voice ad from December 23, “the world’s most liberated club” was hosting a special Christmas show (ladies admitted at 11:15!), and then a New Years’ celebration as well.
Opened in 1968 in the basement of the then-faded Ansonia Hotel (right) on West 74th Street, the Continental Baths was a “sexual Xanadu”—a place where gay men in towels could dance, socialize, and be entertained by not-yet-famous Bette Midler (and her piano player, Barry Manilow), Nell Carter, and Melba Moore.
The Baths operated until the mid-1970s, when it was rebranded as swingers’ paradise Plato’s Retreat. Perhaps they too had a Christmas Day special?
This New York magazine article from 1973 offers a detailed look inside “New York’s most Weimarian nightspot.”