Mystery Bath House

Dear Mr. Coney Island...
When I was in my teens during the early 50's I was a fanatic rider of the tornado roller coaster. I remember riding up the lift hill (which if I remember correctly faced toward the ocean) as I looked toward my left side and down into what looked like a narrow street there was a bath house where my girlfriends and I used to gawk at the customers going in and out and sunning themselves wrapped in towels and sometimes bare... would like to know something about the bath house when it closed or is it still there. or was it destroyed when the tornado burned.
- Lauren

Hello Lauren,

The bathhouse you saw was Cook's baths (formerly Cox's Baths) which operated until 1973. It burned several years before the Tornado was destroyed by fire.


My grandmother had a locker in one of the bathhouses off the boardwalk....can't remember the name, but my dad used to go to the bar on the boardwalk, where they had an outdoor bar area. Izzy the bartender is all I can remember. The bathhouse had showers and steam showers, no pool, but I do remember handball courts and "a little beach" in the back. Do you remember the name of this place? Not Washington Baths; up a little further on the boardwalk towards the Half Moon.

As I kid growing up I remember Silvers Baths, I couldn't understand the reason why they never changed the movie !!!!!! It was Russian Turkish Hot Salt Water baths....we always got a kick out of watching the ladies, topless of course stick there heads out of the windows facing the boardwalk. When did these baths finally close & what happened to the site?

Bath houses dotted both coasts as a place for those who came by streetcar or motor vehicle to change into swimwear and a place to store their street clothing (lockers). Then to shower when coming back from the sand/water.

No the only info is that me and my friends would go there and spend the whole night. It was a magical place from the old world.

I too remember going to Silvers as a kid. It was segregated and they has many different types of saunas: dry, wet, Russian style bana, and the had this huge salt water pool..that was freezing cold. they also had thes "needle showers" that would spray you from the side when you stood inside the pipes. They also had power hoses (like a firemans) that they sprayed you with and you held onto to parralell pipes in this narrow hallway or you'd get blown was for the bigger kids..I was too small for it.

I also recall they had a huge cafeteria and they served you tea in glasses with sugar cubes, the old world way. It was a magical place that I'm sure is long gone.

Does anyone have any information onthe place????

I remembered that there was a Kentucky Fried Chicken on the boardwalk and could have sworn it was in the building thats now all occupied by Ruby's Bar. The photo above is my proof!! The light bulb border of the KFC sign (seen in the right of this photo) IS STILL THERE ON THE RUBY's BUILDING in the location it is in this picture! I think KFC only lasted a year and my family (living in Warbasse Houses) were their only customers. This was when Col Sanders still had his hand in KFC and the food was far above the greasy chicken joints in the area. (and KFC delivered).
I think by the next season it became just "Fried Chicken" and was another unappetizing greasy chicken place.
I am so glad I found this photo to verify what I believed all along:
Ruby's is party occupying the space that once housed KFC (and as I see Cooks Baths too)...

The gap formed by the removal the burnt remains of Cook's Bath ultimately became the infamous "Shoot The Freak" site nearly 30 years later. Earlier a boardwalk extension filled the area and a band might be set up there providing music for boardwalk dancers. It collapsed Memorial Day Weekend 1998 I think, a day after a band and others had used it! I believe there were no injuries but rescuers did search for alleged homeless people who were thought to have been trapped there.

Thanks for sharing your memories about Silvers Baths. My great-grandfather Barney Silver owned Silvers Baths. If I come across any information, I will be sure of post it here.

In1959 my great grandfather Joseph Bonsignore took over silvers baths either from a goldberg or silverman because he held the morgages for silvers baths because of lack of payment and we closed it down around 1970 we also owned the bobsleed and many other attractions in the area.

My grandmother Agnis Larkins worked as manager of Silvers Baths for decades 20"s 30"s 40's, 50"s mol. I have fond memories in the early 40"s going as a very young boy to visit her at work with my mother. Does anyone out there remember her?

In the early 50's, once a month, on Fridays before the blessing of the new moon, my grandfather would pick me up at school in Queens and we would drive to Silver's Baths (everyone had a favorite place, my grandfather's was Silver's). It was to get ready to greet the Sabbath queen. We would schvitz and shmooze fo a while. Then, we would go into the freezing pool, where I would shiver on cue, and my grandfather would laugh uproariously. I remember those days with such intense nostalgia that it makes me weep.

My father Charles owned a laundry in East Flatbush where his family lived above. He took us two boys to Silver's at night (must've been Friday) and I remember walking towards the dark surf where the crashing waves were a bit intimidating. Inside most of the men (it was fiercely segregated though rumour had it that you could find your way to the women's side) were totally in the buff. The hardiest ones endured the needle showers and the hot cups that brought the blood up to your skin. The indoor pool was like a dark, deep cement thing that I swear must've been filled with ocean water. The TV up on the wall ran The Twilight Zone and Sea Hunt (among others I'm sure). To this day I can't think of anything healthier than the Pine Room and the Steam Room where both dry and wet heat coursed through your nostrils and cleaned up everything...inside and out! The term sauna was unknown at the time but I'll tell you one thing...America was America!

My grandfather worked at Silvers Baths in the Russian room giving plazas to customers. I used to go there about once a week in the early 1950's. My memories are very vivid about the Salt Room, the Pine Room, the Radiator Room, and the Russian Room where my grandfather worked.I remember the high pressure hoses that were used to massage customers from about fifty feet away . Silvers looked like a movie theater from the outside.

I had my bachelor party 50 years ago (1965) at Silvers Baths. For years in the late 40's and early 50's I used to go to Silvers with my Dad. We would go into all the steam rooms, and in one he would lie on the top shelf - the hottest - where an attendant would pour cold water over his head (covered with a felt hat) to allow him to breathe, while another (maybe the same) would stroke his bare back with a birch branch that would leave red marks. I remember the soaping with a rough material, the huge tubs (7 feet?) filled with sea water or fresh water - your choice - and the high pressure hose massage. At my bachelor party I remember holding on to the pipes while the attendant 20 feet away played the hoses over my body, up and down my arms, then crossing over to my legs, while I stood there spread-eagled, wondering whether my "manhood" would be blasted by the hoses and wind up smashed against the back wall!

I'm from Philadelphia, Pa. During the summer of1954 my Uncle Marty took me to Coney Island and to Silvers. I was amazed at the size of the place ! I received my first steam bath there . Later we walked to the beach and had knishes at a stand on the beach. What a wonderful,carefree time it was.

In the early 50's on Friday nights my grandfather and I would take the "d" train from the lower east side to Silvers. I remember going from the pine room ( being scrubbed with an actual sea sponge ), then going into the pool ( that contained actual sea water that was the same temperature as outside ), then going into the elongated bath tubs to wash off the salt water from the pool, then going into the steam room. After all that we would go into the cafeteria having built up an unbelievable appetite, and then we would go to sleep either indoors or upstairs in the outdoor solarium where there was no heat,scratchy wool blankets,but with an array of stars that was absolutely breathtaking. What an exhilarating experience!! I miss it dearly.....

I am trying to date a photograph of my grandfather and his brother and sisters who are wearing Cox' Baths bathing suits. Does anyone know when Cook's Baths changed its name?

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