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The Infamous St. Marks Baths

The New St. Marks Baths was the premiere gay bathhouse in New York City and was located at 6 St. Marks Place in the East Village of Manhattan from 1979 to 1985. It claimed to be the world’s largest gay bathhouse with 230 lockers, 162 cubicles/rooms, a pool, several lounges, a roof deck, a steam room with portholes in the wall like the ones you would see on a cruise ship and a 24-hour café. Opened in 1913, it operated as a Turkish bath catering to the immigrants on New York’s Lower East Side. In the 1950s it began to have a homosexual clientele at night, and in the 1960s it became exclusively gay.

The Saint Mark’s Baths was a sexual playground and gay men would prowl its darkened hallways 24 hours a day, 7 days a week in search of the ultimate sex partner. On the main floor, money was paid and valuables safely stored in signed, sealed envelopes and put away for safekeeping. A key was handed out (to a locker if one had $10, to an actual private room if one had $20-50; depending upon the size of the bed). And off you went. On Friday and Saturday nights, despite the huge size of the place it was not surprising to wind up on a wait list waiting for a room or a locker for hours… read more >

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