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Where to Find a Gay Bathhouse in New York City

gay bathhouse in New York City
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Can You Find a Gay Bathhouse in New York City?

So, you’re on the hunt for a gay bathhouse in New York City. I bet you’ve noticed from searching online that the options for gay saunas in New York seem limited. Well, you’ve just encountered a common situation that bewilders so many gay travelers that visit this city each year. 

gay bathhouse in New York City

New York is a little different when it comes to gay bathhouses for a number of different reasons. Can you find a gay bathhouse in New York City? Well, technically yes. Should you go to one? That’s what you’ll need to read more about below to find out.

Firstly I’ll share the reason why New York is an outlier. You’ll find out where to find a typical gay bathhouse in New York City and also find out where the locals go. Lastly, I’ll tell you about some more popular gay events like bars with dark rooms, sex parties and circuit parties. You may prefer these options over the limited gay sauna options.

Why Gay Bathhouses in New York City Are Different

Gay bathhouses are quite common in international gay destinations like Barcelona, Rome and Cape Town, so why is New York different? 

gay bathhouse in New York City

It has to with New York’s, and America’s, history. In the 1980’s, the majority of gay bathhouses in New York City closed their doors. This was the period of the tragic HIV/AIDS epidemic and New York was an epicenter. Many gay men stopped going to saunas as fear and stigmatization spread throughout the United States. Almost all of these NYC bathhouses went out of business.

A couple of gay saunas remained open through this tumultuous time and are still in operation to this day. These are the only official gay bathhouses in New York, but they’re certainly not your only options.

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Two New York City Gay Bathhouse Options

Most gay New Yorkers know their name, but the majority have never been to one. Currently only two traditional gay bathhouses operate in New York City, the East Side Club and West Side Club.

Both the East Side and West Side Clubs tend to have a poor reputation for being run down, expensive and attended by seemingly questionable patrons. As you’ll read in the section below, most gay New Yorkers have found an alternative to the traditional gay saunas.

West Side Club gay bathhouse in New York City

There are a few other massage-based establishments around that put categorize themselves as a gay sauna, but they’re still called “spas” because they’re not truly gay bathhouses.

Alternatives to A Gay Bathhouse in New York City

Since the existing gay bathhouses in New York City have fallen out of popularity, gay men have improvised. Now, there are various well-known sex parties that operate around Manhattan and Brooklyn. Each of these parties typically require you to send your name, a photo of yourself and sometimes a reference in advance.

NYC gay sex party

NYC Sex Parties: Best Alternative to Gay Bathhouses in NYC

New York Jock Party is the most well-known sex party in NYC. They host events every Friday, Sunday and Tuesday. To receive an invitation, you must fill out the form on the New York Jock Party Website. You can also send NYJP an email here for more information.

There are a number of other similar parties including Play and Cake, which are both hosted by the same organizers as New York Jock Party. You also have a party called Prime Party, hosted by a separate group. For more information about Prime Party, send them an email here.

NYJP gay sex party nyc

Locations of these NYC sex parties are sometimes not disclosed online to maintain privacy and control who enters, amongst other factors. Furthermore, their locations can change from time to time, depending on the party. Once you join a party’s email list, you will certainly be aware of any updates about party schedules and the event locations through by email.

Most of the gay sex parties in New York City are typically held in some sort of large, converted apartment building space (think several combined apartments). They are not held in any sort of warehouse, as the groups tend to range from 50 to 100 guys over the course of the night on average.

NYC Circuit Parties & Gay Bars with Dark Rooms

Lastly, the other sauna alternative for gay men in New York City is attending a circuit party that is known to have a dark room. New York has many circuit parties, however only a couple of them have dark room spaces.

M.E.A.T. New York: Gay Circuit Party with Cruising

In my opinion, the most noteworthy circuit party with a dark room is MEAT. This is a large-venue circuit party with renowned international DJ’s, hosted by John Blair Promotions. 

Alternative to a gay bathhouse in New York City

While the location is technically subject to change, MEAT is held at Three Dollar Bill Nightclub in Brooklyn (as of March 2020). It used to be held in spaces like the Highline Ballroom in Manhattan, to which the party could always potentially return in the future.

You can find the list of scheduled parties on the MEAT New York Website. Showclix sells the tickets for these events. While some circuit parties are usually pricy, I’d say attending a MEAT party is definitely worth it.

Three Dollar Bill also hosts other gay parties that have a cruising-type vibe. Two popular parties are HARDER and Daddy Issues. You can check the parties planned during your visit on the Three Dollar Bill Event Page.

EAGLE NYC: Top New York Leather Bar with Cruising

Another famous and popular space for gay cruising in New York is EAGLE NYC. Popular among the mature and leather community, EAGLE NYC is more of a traditional bar, as opposed to just a cruising spot. This relaxed NYC gay bar is popular for exploring your dark side in a dimly-lit space.

Alternative to a gay bathhouse in New York City

Learn more about EAGLE NYC and dozens more popular New York gay bars in the wolfyy Ultimate Guide to Gay Bars in New York City. There are endless opportunities to meet gay locals while you’re visiting. While not all of them always have cruising, that doesn’t mean I wouldn’t stop by!

Should I Go to A Gay Bathhouse in New York City?

Given all the options above, you might still be pondering this question. While the final choice is certainly up to you, I’ll share the general opinion of New York gay locals to help you decide.

gay bathhouse

In general, local gay New Yorkers do not go to the two gay bathhouse options mentioned earlier. Uninformed tourists definitely try them out, but online reviews don’t portray any good experiences. I at least have not met anyone who has gone there anytime recently.

With all the other options that gay travelers and locals have, going to a gay bathhouse in New York City is simply not common anymore. Gay men in New York have more dynamic options, like traditional bars that also offer cruising, obviating the need for traditional gay saunas. 



Recommendations for NYC Gay Cruising

If you’re a first time NYC gay traveler that was initially looking for a gay bathhouse in New York City, I’ll give you a couple different recommendations based on when your’ll be visiting and how much time you have to spend.

Midtown Manhattan

For those visiting New York City for the span of a workweek and won’t get to stay the weekend, your best bet is attending one of the NYC gay sex parties. Many of them take place after business hours Monday through Thursday. Some are directly after the workday at around 6:00 PM and other are later in the evening.

If you’re able to spend the weekend in New York, I recommend purchasing a ticket to one of the circuit parties mentioned earlier. If those large parties are not your favorite, then I would check out one of the bars linked above that is noteworthy for cruising. These gay bars are definitely full on weekends, but weekdays are also popular, especially if there’s a special weekday event.

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