Last summer, we explored Jacob Riis Park’s monumental Art Deco bathhouse, which sits in a mostly barren area between a highway and the Atlantic Ocean side of the Rockaway Peninsula. After coming across our article, Untapped Cities reader and videographer, Matthew Chirico, sent us a stunning short film, captured by drone, that highlights the now abandoned building.
The aerial vantage point gives us an idea of the sheer size of the bathhouse, designed by John L. Plock for the firm Stoughton & Stoughton. Four pavilions stretch out along the Atlantic Ocean and two octagonal red brick towers cast a shadow on the beach below, named after documentary photographer, Jacob A. Riis, who chronicled the lives of those who lived city’s tenements residents during the 1890s.
Since it opened in 1932, the bathhouse has turned into a relic as several renovations throughout the 1990s have failed to rejuvenate the space. Mountains of sand leftover from Tropical Storm Irene still sit around the various halls of the building, making it difficult to imagine its past life as a hub for oceanside entertainment.
A native of Staten Island, Matthew Chirico has a knack for filming abandoned places and the neglected corners of New York City. “I like highlighting the architecture of decrepit buildings,” he tells us. With a drone, he also captures spots that often go unnoticed in his home borough, including the abandoned Seaview Hospital, the Staten Island Boat Graveyard, and Freshkills Park, among many other places. See more of his work on his Youtube channel here.
Next, go inside the Rockaways’ Abandoned Art Deco Bathhouse in Queens, NYC or check out 11 Abandoned Islands Near NYC.