Asser Levy Public Baths

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Asser Levy Public Baths
Asser Levy Recreation Center.jpg
(2010)
Asser Levy Public Baths is located in New York City
Asser Levy Public Baths
Location Asser Levy Place and East 23rd Street
Manhattan, New York City
Coordinates: 40°44′9″N 73°58′35″W / 40.73583°N 73.97639°W / 40.73583; -73.97639
Built 1904
Architect Brunner & Aiken
Architectural style Roman Revival
Governing body New York City
NRHP Reference # 80002709[1]
Significant dates
Added to NRHP April 23, 1980
Designated NYCL March 19, 1974

The Asser Levy Public Baths, now part of the Asser Levy Recreation Center, is a historic building located at the corner of Asser Levy Place and East 23rd Street in Kips Bay, Manhattan, New York City. It was named after Asser Levy was one of the first Jewish citizens of New York City, and a strong and influential advocate for civil liberties; it was built in 1904-06[2] and designed by Arnold W. Brunner and Martin Aiken of the firm Brunner & Aiken.

One of the entrances to the bathhouse, which were once divided by gender

The baths were an important part of the drive to alleviate sanitary problems in the city. Many New Yorkers, especially immigrants living in overcrowded tenements, had no place to bathe – an 1896 survey found that there was one bathtub in the Lower East Side for every 79 families[3] – and progressive social reformers pushed for the construction of public bathhouses modeled on those of ancient Rome.[2] In 1895, the state passed a law requiring that localities build public baths, but New York City did not built its first bathhouse, on Rivington Street until 1901.[3] In 1903, the city's Department of Docks and Ferries released land for a new bathhouse on 23rd Street, which was originally called the East 23rd Street Bathhouse. The design by Brunner & Aiken in Roman Revival style was inspired by Roman baths and the "City Beautiful" movement as well.[3] The building now houses two swimming pools, one outdoors for use in the summer, and one indoors for the rest of the year, and a public health club. It is part of the Asser Levy Recreation Center, which also includes the Asser Levy Playground next door.

The Asser Levy Public Baths building, which was restored by the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation in 1988-90,[3] was designated a New York City landmark in 1974,[2] and was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1980. The contemporaneous East 54th Street Bath and Gymnasium, at 348 East 54th Street, is also a designated Landmark.

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Notes

  1. ^ "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. 2009-03-13. 
  2. ^ a b c New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission; Postal, Matthew A. (ed. and text); Dolkart, Andrew S. (text). (2009) Guide to New York City Landmarks (4th ed.) New York: John Wiley & Sons. ISBN 978-0-470-28963-1, p.88
  3. ^ a b c d "Asser Levy Recreation Center, Pool and Playground" on the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation website. Accessed:2011-02-17

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