11. There is an abandoned Art Deco bathhouse in Jacob Riis Park
In 1932, the bathhouse in the center of Jacob Riis Park opened to the public. At the time, the park catered to a wide variety of demographics, and its beach was called the “People’s Beach.” The bathhouse was a gleaming crown jewel for the beach during its heyday, with its stylish design and octagonal red brick towers stretching up to the sky.
Over the years, the bathhouse has fallen into ruin due to neglect, lack of funding, and natural disasters. In 1990, a restoration effort began but was never finished, and today the bathhouse is a quiet shell of what it once was. Restoration efforts failed in part because of the building’s sheer size: it actually consists of four buildings, and while the entry pavilion was finished, the beach side building still retains the ravages of Hurricane Irene, which knocked down doors and piled four feet of sand inside. After Hurricane Sandy, which further damaged the property, $4 million in restoration efforts failed to repair the bathhouse. Although its first floor is nearly finished, its second floor is decaying, complete with rotting bathrooms and crumbling walls.
In 2016, the National Park Service began looking for bidders for the space, and they hope to eventually turn the bathhouse and park back into the “people’s beach” it once was. The space currently holds several small historical exhibits, including a set of vintage black-and-white photographs like the one featured above.