Continental Baths

From OutHistory
Jump to navigationJump to search

by: Jeff Auer

Opened in 1968 by Steve Ostrow, the Continental Baths were the first NYC gay bathhouse to offer a clean and safe place for gay men to have sex. Despite several raids during the early years the owner managed to make the baths a huge success. In 1969 the Continental started offering live entertainment and really put itself on the map as becoming the place that launched Bette Midler and Barry Manilow's careers in the summer of 1970. By 1971 women were allowed to come in for the live shows. Gay men felt the place had become overun with hype and straight people and started departing by 1974. In 1975 the baths went co-ed and finally closed early the following year. It was sold and reopened ast the straight swingers club Plato's Retreat in 1976.

See also: Gay Bathhouses