Gary Sosnick Detroit 2017

9.  Bathhouse Exit & Wrap-Up

All cleaned up and ready to rock 'n' roll.  Left to right: Toots Johnson, Jeffrey holding Queenie the dog, and Dick Brown. We're probably heading out the door to some Saturday night party, since our favorite slogan was, Where's the party? After that, we usually showed up at our girlfriends' apartments, only to hear them complain, "Shvitz, shvitz, shvitz. Is that all you ever do?"

You see, there was this boarded-up Jewish corner bakery in the neighborhood where you used to be able to get seven layer cake and a nice loaf of challah. And I guess someone (persons unknown) decided to use it as a political statement of some sort since it wasn't being used for much of anything important.


1) The guy getting the plaitza is king, and controls the room temperature. If he wants more heat, he gets it promptly and without complaint. The no heat crowd should always move down off the top row rather than try to quash any request for more heat.  2) Quiet is paramount. Please temper your trap so that I too, may enjoy the taking of steam. If you're running your mouth in the steam room, it's obviously not hot enough.  3) If you take a plaitza, then you must help give one. You are only excused if you paid the parchik to give you a plaitza.   4) Wear bath shoes. Sit on a towel. Place a bucket of cold water within reach.  5) Keep the steam room clean. Pick up stray oak leaves and towels. No newspapers or glass containers allowed, and definitely no smoking anywhere near the steam room, showers, or pools.


The Schvitz Detroit, today's official name of the old Oakland Avenue Bath House, is located in Detroit at 8295 Oakland Avenue (north of Clay Ave. at Melbourne St.). It is in the area of Detroit just northwest of where Interstate-75 intersects with Interstate-94. Phone (313) 871-9707. Call for business hours and fees.

Click on Google Maps button to see a map to The Schvitz Health Club


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.


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.


Oak Leaf Plaitza Brooms are currently available in limited quantities. We are pleased to offer these large-leaf, high-quality brooms for $60 each, which includes delivery. Interested parties Please Inquire via e-mail and further details will be provided prior to purchase. All oak leaf brooms are handmade to identical specifications. Instructions for care and use included.


Consider this Website an archive. If you have any photographs and/or amusing anecdotes regarding the Oakland Bath House, please contact me, Gary Sosnick, to discuss inclusion in this Website. You will be given full credit.

You are encouraged to Contact Me if anything in this Website appears to be inaccurate or misleading, and your general comments and questions are always welcomed.

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The Oakland Avenue Bath House 1930 Website