I wish to acknowledge a few long-standing and current Oakland Bath House patrons:
R.D. Brown takes lots of heat, likes the raw dog (fresh broom plaitza without soap), provided many items, and helped to ensure the accuracy of this Website. Ronnie Smith (z''l), gave good plaitzas longer than us. Ronnie Tomaszewski, has kept the bathhouse up to code all these years. Izzy Cohen (z''l), mentioned here as a veteran plaitza-man of more than sixty years. Ronnie
Berger, reigning steam room king. Former Detroiters Paul Velick remembered the grapefruit and Ronnie Meckler recalled the hose down. And Nemo (z''l), the sarcastic bon vivant African Grey Parrot who resided at the bathhouse from 1977-2016.
See what shvitzing can do for you? Here's a photo of me from a hot summer night in 1975. No, I'm not part of a wedding party--I always looked sharp! Obviously, I had just come from the bathhouse. And I still remember what my date,
Sandy Lane, said to me that evening. She said, "You smell like an oak tree that's smoking a cigar." Now that's what I call success.
THREE OTHERS THAT EARN OUR STAMP OF APPROVAL
If you've come this far, then I have to assume you have some interest in the taking of steam. Fortunately for us steam takers and plaitza enthusiasts, there are three other Russian-type bath houses in the United States where you can enjoy the total plaitza experience, including food, similar to that found on Oakland Avenue. One is in Chicago, one is in New York City, and the third is in Los Angeles. Here's the necessary information:
Division Street Russian Bath - Chicago. 1916 West Division Street (between Damen and Ashland Ave.). (773) 384-9643. (773) 384-9671. - If they ever close-up Oakland, we're all moving to Chicago; that's how much we think of Division Street. Not much has changed here since 1906. No cold swimming pool like the one at Oakland, but ice cold plunge is ice cold. See Augie for a plaitza. NOTE: In 2011, the Division Street Bath became Red Square Spa. More info on Links Page.
Russian & Turkish Baths - New York City's Tenth Street Baths. 268 East 10th Street (between 1st and Ave. A). (212) 674-9250. (212) 473-8806. (212) 979-5873. - Not much has changed here since 1892. Hotter than hot. Hottest steam room in the world, just the way we like it! Only drawback: business hours are almost entirely coed, requiring the wearing of a bathing suit. In that intense heat, the last thing we want is a bathing suit! No cold swimming pool like the one at Oakland, but ice cold plunge is ice cold. See Shimon for a plaitza.
City Spa - Los Angeles. Formerly Pico-Burnside Baths. 5325 West Pico Boulevard (between Fairfax and La Brea Ave.). (323) 938-4800. (877) CIT-YSPA. - Since 1954; well, LA's not that old, so the decor is on the modern side. Nonetheless, a real gem of a bathhouse. Has the cold swimming pool and the ice cold plunge!
Did we leave your favorite bathhouse off this list? Write Us with the necessary information and we'll get our boys to check it out. Don't worry, we'll bring our own broom.