Silly me, when I first heard of the effort to reopen the LaGuardia Bathhouse, I thought by some miracle this was a radical attempt to restore some of the Lower East Side’s kinky charm of yesteryear. But alas, those who get all veclemped at the sight of marble lobbies and roof-deck apartments probably won’t be comforted by the move to save a senior center. It remains to be seen whether yesterday’s rally of more than 200 neighborhood activists and local politicians will result in a restoration including a new pool, basketball court, fitness room, computer center and space for after-school programs—a project that would cost between $20 million and $30 million. Asked why so passionate about this project, locals say it’s for the kids. Scared of the new, family-centered LES? Think of it this way, at least the Bathhouse would get the tiny tots off the streets and out of your way.
But then there’s also the anti-gentrification movement, which must be made up of the post-menopausal set of LES locals. A community forum is scheduled for Thursday to discuss the rapid upscaling of the Bowery, with residents urging rezoning that would limit building heights and density.
Photo courtesy of moriza on Flickr