Silvers Baths

Dear Mr. Coney Island...
I would like to know if you have any information about the Silver Baths in Coney Island. It would of been around give or take 1920. I don't know the exact name maybe it was Silver Salt baths. If you have any information i would love to hear from you. I do know it was visited by a big Jewish population. Looking forward to hear from you.
- Helene Ayala

Hello Helene,

Silvers Baths was Coney's fanciest bathhouse and was located on West 23rd Street at the Boardwalk from 1914 until 1968. The original complex burned in the great fire of 1932 and was replace with an ornate buff-brick building with a theater-style marquee that advertised "Russian Turkish Hot Salt Water Baths" and a "Vita Glass Solarium." The Solarium, on the Boardwalk side of the building, was a popular venue for sunbathing.

Silvers had swimming pools, steam rooms, restaurants, dormitories for overnight stays, and masseurs. The baths had a jitney that would pick up customers at the Stillwell Subway Terminal and deliver them to the front door. Silvers was operated by John Bonsignore in its final years. The clientele was mostly of Eastern European descent.

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Comments

My father had a sign shop on 22nd Street and then on 22 and Surf Ave. He did all the signs for Silver's Bath until he was, health wise, to close shop. As a kid, I remember delivering signs to the bathhouse and was taken on a tour, since I never knew what was their business. As far as I was concerned, people when there just to take a bath! Oh well, those days are long gone. By the way, I remember as a toddler being taken to the roof of the building on 29th and Surf Ave where we lived to see the "great fire of 1932". There was a Nunnery between 27 & 28 St near the Boardwalk. We saw the nuns gathered and praying, I assume for the fire to stop. Guess what? The fire stopped at 27th Street.

I was friends with his son Joseph Bonsignore and before it closed we would go their loved the saltwater baths.Fun days in Coney Island

My dad used to take me as a little kid to Silvers, in the early 60's...I remember it had a giant saltwater pool, high power hoses, wet and dry sauna, and lots of naked old men.. I also remember it had a restaurant upstairs..more of a cafeteria. Many fond memories.

As a youngster I treasured the opportunity to go to Silver's with my Grandfather. He came from Siberia and was quite devoted to visits to Silver's. I clearly remember the massage with brown soap and a seaweed mop. The icy cold, but small, swimming pool. The old men sitting on wooden lounges in the hellishly hot steam room. A man would come into the steam room with little paper cups of ice water on a tray for the men to sip. There was a pine scented steam room so hot that the men would sit on wooden benches near spigots of cold sea water which would be used to fill wooden buckets with the cold seawater and be dumped over their heads. There was a shower with the water coming from all directions. The food could have only appealed to a Russian. Borscht, Schav and hard salami. A barber shop would give "hair singes". That's a haircut where a dowel with a small flame at the tip would burn away whatever hair came up through the comb. When you left, you were cleaner than you had ever been before.

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