Back in the gays in the early 1970’s New York City had it’s share of gay bathhouses but there always seemed like there was room for more. In 1971 Club Body centers brought their chain into NYC when they purchased a townhouse at 24 First Avenue in Manhattan.
The bathhouse was featured in a 1974 film called “A Very Natural Thing”. The baths offered lockers or rooms on the upper floors and a large orgy room on the top floor. They offered two steam baths ( Hot and Hotter), a hot tub and showers. On the first floor there was a comfortable lounge with an ample TV and shag rug (for shagging). The baths also offered a glassed in winter garden with lush greenery and faux bird calls.
In the 1970’s the Club baths were managed by Bob Kohler ( 1926- 2007) an early LGBT activist and former owner the Loft store on Christopher Street. In 1975 a famous Lesbian writer Rita Mae Brown donned man-drag and accessed the male only bath. She wandered the halls for three and a half hours and made observations of the place. Upon leaving she was quoted as saying that she felt like she had stowed away on the Queen Mary.
The Club Baths closed 1983 as the city was beginning to react from the fourth coming AIDS crisis. The former baths is now home to LGBT Drag restaurant Lucky Cheng’s.
Here are some photographs Courtesy of outhistory.org Thank you