2. There is an abandoned Art Deco bathhouse in Jacob Riis Park

Jacob Riis Bathhouse in the Rockaways

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 during its heyday, with its stylish design and octagonal red brick towers stretching up to the sky.

Over the years, the bathhouse fell into ruin due to neglect, lack of funding, and natural disasters. In 1990, a restoration effort began but was never finished. Restoration efforts failed in part because of the building’s sheer size: it actually consists of four buildings. While the entry pavilion has benefited from successful restorative projects, the beachside was ravaged by 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. Now however, there is hope for the once abandoned buildings, as a team which involves architect firm Beyer Blinder Belle, CBSK Developers, Brooklyn Bazaar, and Aulder Capital is working to transform the derelict buildings into a new 28-room hotel with beachfront eateries, bars, event spaces and retail. The nearly $50 million restoration project is projected to begin a phased opening in the spring of 2024.