A bathhouse in New York City became a gay bar and restaurant, with gay patrons dancing in gay-friendly settings.
It was called the Gay Bar.
It’s a story about the evolution of a gay-centric culture, and its story is told in the pages of the book The Gay Bar: The Untold Story of a Gay Bath House, by Nicholas Carr.
The book tells the story of the Gay Bathhouse, the only gay bath establishment in New England.
It opens with a glimpse of the gay community in the late 1800s, as it had no other outlet for its excesses.
“When I was a child, there were no bathhouses.
The only gay people were the young men who lived in the streets, in the slums,” explains Carr.
“The bathhouse was the only place you could go, go to, come out, be free of the fear of the police.”
As the city became more segregated, people began to leave the slum and build their own.
“You had a gay people, and then you had a straight people, you had people of different religions, and all of a sudden, it was just a gay community,” says Carr.
There was a gay night club, the Bathhouse.
But it was a straight bathhouse.
In 1791, a wealthy Irishman named Charles Francis Keogh bought the property.
His name is on the building, and he bought it for $500,000.
In the early 1800s New York had no bath houses, and Keogh didn’t want to build one.
“He said, ‘You have no business building a bathhouse,'” Carr tells New Scientist.
So he sold the bathhouse, and instead, he took the bath.
The Bathhouse was originally an all-girls bathhouse and was built to accommodate women only.
Carr writes, “The Bathhouse became the Gay Home for New York’s gay men.”
It wasn’t until 1829 that gay men started coming to New York.
“It’s one of the few places where they could go in their own way,” says Thomas Johnson, an associate professor of history at the University of New Hampshire.
“If they came in with a group, they could just go straight, and if they wanted to go in a private room, they had to pay for it.”
And so the bathhouses in New New York became gay bars.
There were gay bathhouses, and gay bars, and the Gay Bars became gay restaurants.
“There was a lot of competition.
The bathhouses and the gay bars were competing with each other,” says Johnson.
So when the owners of the bath houses and the bars decided to combine, they decided to do it in a way that would make them look like the Gay Houses, which were the gay establishments, and not the gay bath houses.
The Gay Baths went from a group of five people to a group with at least 50 people.
They didn’t pay rent and they didn’t have a security guard.
They were in the bath house, but not in the bar.
They had the name and the building and the furniture.
They could have a private bar and a public bar, but they couldn’t have either,” Carr writes.
So they built a bath house that looked like a gay house, and they used the name Gay Bath.
“So it looked like the same house, which I thought was great, and it looked as though it was supposed to look like that,” says Penderglast. “
I thought it was great that they had such a different name, because they were in fact the same building,” says David Pendergast, a professor of American history at Northeastern University in Boston.
“So it looked like the same house, which I thought was great, and it looked as though it was supposed to look like that,” says Penderglast.
And so, the Gay-themed bathhouse opened its doors to all-gender groups, like the women who came to the bath in the early 1900s.
“They started to use the bath as a social club, a place where they would meet, and so the Gay Hotel was born,” says John Linder, the historian of the Bath House.
And when the bath opened its door to the gay men in the 1920s, it became a hotbed of activity.
“For the first couple of years, it wasn’t that the Gay bathhouse became a bath club.
It became a place to meet and have a social event,” says Linder.
The first Gay Hotel, opened in 1922.
Gay men, as the Gay hotel was called, could not come to the Gayhouse, but the Gay women could.
“But that’s a whole other story,” Linder says.
Linder’s book The Bath House is available now from the University College Press.
Carr tells us more about his book: “The Gay Bar is an astonishing story of how gay men came together to build a gay home, and how the bath club became a safe haven