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Jacob Riis Park Bathhouse
Photograph: Sylvester Zawadzki

The historic Jacob Riis Park Bathhouse is getting a major makeover

When finished, it’ll boast restaurants, a bar, a pool, event spaces and hotel rooms.

Shaye Weaver
Written by
Shaye Weaver
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The old Art Deco Jacob Riis Park Bathhouse that has gone unused for almost half a century is about to undergo a massive, $50 million restoration that’ll boast restaurants, a bar, a pool, event spaces and hotel rooms. 

The building, which was created by the city for “the recreation of its citizens” with two restaurants, a cafeteria, and concession stands, hasn’t been used in that way for quite some time. During Hurricane Sandy, its doors, windows and courtyard wall were all destroyed, too.

After work begins this fall, the facade will be brought back to its original glory and there will be a rooftop restaurant, ground floor eateries, a casual beachfront bar and retailers stocking beach supplies like sunblock and towels. There will also be 28 hotel rooms, a catering hall and multiple event spaces. Outside, there will be a new pool and lounge areas.

A phased reopening will begin in 2023.

After a competitive process, Brooklyn Bazaar was selected by the National Park Service to renovate the facility in 2017. They’ve hired CBSK Developers and renowned architecture firm Beyer Blinder Belle to do the work.

Plans for the project have already undergone careful review by New York’s State Historic Preservation Office and will preserve the building’s famed Byzantine, Moorish and Moderne influences, while adding new modern uses, according to Brooklyn Bazaar.

“As a New Yorker with deep Queens roots, the chance to revitalize this iconic city landmark is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity,” said CBSK’s Scott Shnay. “This project will help return the bathhouse to its former glory and add modern restaurants and attractions to the historic Jacob Riis waterfront. We are grateful for our partnership with the National Parks Service and look forward to work getting underway.” 

Jacob Riis Park Bathhouse
Photograph: Sylvester Zawadzki
Jacob Riis Park Bathhouse
Photograph: Sylvester Zawadzki
Jacob Riis Park Bathhouse
Photograph: Sylvester Zawadzki
Jacob Riis Park Bathhouse
Photograph: Sylvester Zawadzki

 The most important part of the project, however, is that it’ll be able to withstand future storm surges and sea-level rise. The project is using best practices for coastal resiliency and sustainability, including the implementation of Aquafence technology as part of a careful floodproofing plan and the creation of a Zero Waste plan. Native plants will be planted within its landscaping design and all development plans have undergone extensive review by the NPS and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Office for Coastal Management to ensure they do not interfere with the existing wildlife or the local habitat.

“The Bathhouse is emblematic of over half a century of the quintessential NYC seaside experience,” said Gateway National Recreation Area superintendent Jen Nersesian. “Its restoration will connect beachgoers with this heritage, and provide a new suite of visitor opportunities for generations to come. We appreciate the power of this partnership to achieve that vision and serve the public good.” 

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