Ask anybody about great but gone music venues in New York, and they’ll go on and on about CBGB, the Fillmore East, Max’s Kansas City and the Savoy Ballroom.
But the Continental Baths? Though it hosted artists as diverse as the New York Dolls, Patti LaBelle and the Manhattan Transfer, it usually goes unmentioned.
Probably because it was a gay bathhouse.
Down in the basement of what was then the Ansonia Hotel, on Broadway and 73rd Street, the Continental teemed with activity — musical and otherwise — from 1968 to 1974.
Its most famous act was a red-haired firecracker named Bette Midler — backed by a young, unknown pianist named Barry Manilow.

Read more: