The Murder Of Bathhouse #2

April 26, 2012

The Albany City government shamefacedly tries to hide the looting of our forcibly abandoned treasure.

Okay, I’m really angry, pissed off, about ready to do something bug ugly. I’m almost mad enough to set myself on fire and go hug the mayor. And it looks like I’m not the only one burning up with rage.

This past Easter weekend, April 7 and 8, three large U-Haul rental trucks were seen parked in the gas station parking lot next to Bathhouse #2 down on Fourth Avenue. Over those two days several still unknown persons broke into our forcibly vacated architectural treasure and filled those trucks with copper pipes and wires that they systematically ripped out of the building. Apparently the scumbag thieves were in no hurry, no worries, they took their time and did a very thorough job.

Bathhouse #2 Today After The Looting Bathhouse #2 Today After The Looting

What makes this DOUBLEY disgusting is that the copper piping was itself a unique historical treasure dating back to 1905 when Bathhouse #2 opened. I’ve heard the pipes under and behind the swimming pool described as an amazing tangle, now I wish I’d had an opportunity to see them for myself. All that thick-walled high quality copper tubing was functioning reliably up to the day the Bathhouse was forcibly closed by Mayor Jerry Jennings at the end of December 2010.

What makes this TRIPLEY disgusting is that the Albany Police did not inform the neighborhood or any media of this crime. But they did tell Jerry. No one else was able to discover news of the looting for ten days. Ten days.

Bathhouse #2 Today After The Looting The Swimming Pool Inside Bathhouse #2 Before It Was Shut down and Destroyed (Camera Lens Steaming Up)

Now, before anyone starts accusing me of paranoid conspiracy theorizing, let me say that all the usual red flags that indicate clumsy manipulation by our public officials are too visible. We all know how much Jerry hates the Bathhouse, and it’s a matter of public record that He personally condemned the building to Demolition By Neglect. It’s not a far stretch to consider that He must be very pleased by the looting, which effectively ruins the building as a swimming facility.

It is no exaggeration to say that Jerry has a pathological hatred of Bathhouse #2, ever since at least the 1990s when the late Elfrieda Textores publicly humiliated Him into keeping the Bathhouse open. Old timers still remember how Elfrieda recruited some elderly Catholic nuns to berate Him during His call-in radio show. He meekly promised the pious ladies that He would keep it open for them, perhaps the only time He has displayed public humility in His political career.

City Of Albany Mayor Jerry Jennings This Past January City Of Albany Mayor Jerry Jennings This Past January

As is usual with His Majesty, His lingering shame over that broadcast incident appears to have transferred to the actual bricks and mortar building itself. Not to mention the copper pipes. Remember, this is a guy who likes to destroy Albany’s old buildings. We know that all too well.

If Jennings or one of His minions had, shall we say, encouraged somebody to loot the copper out of Bathhouse #2, well, I can’t prove that. But somebody sure felt safe enough to take their time and do the job thoroughly and very visibly. That sure is making a lot of people think these scumbags had some kind of protection while they looted.

Right next door to the Bathhouse are the offices of the clumsily named St. John’s/St. Ann’s Institute. This important and worthy community service center suddenly lost their water, right in the middle of Easter Sunday. It seems the municipal water supply ran through Bathhouse #2 before it reached the Institute, a former fire house. This sort of series connection of water lines is not unheard of for older buildings in the South End.

For ten days the Institute building had no water, and the City pointedly ignored the cries for help from the Institute and from the Catholic Church across the street. Apparently all the City told them was that the water problem was their fault and their responsibility, and that if they wanted water again they would have to pony up $7000 that they didn’t have ($8000 according to Hearst.) The City made absolutely no offers of assistance to the Institute until the bad publicity about the Bathhouse looting circulated in the community.

St. John's/St. Ann's Institute, Bathhouse #2 At Right St. John’s/St. Ann’s Institute, Bathhouse #2 At Right

The St.John’s/St.Ann’s Institute and the recently renamed St. Francis Church across the street are basically the same entity run by the same people, all of whom are part of the Albany Catholic Diocese. The magnificent former firehouse contains the offices of the Institute, several income producing office rentals, and an important food pantry on the ground floor for the forgotten poor in the neighborhood.

Basically the lack of water to the building was shutting down the Institute. You can’t rent office spaces without providing water, and you certainly can’t run a food pantry. If this situation had continued for another ten days we would have had another vacant building on this incredible historic block. One can’t help but wonder if that’s what Jerry had in mind.

Albany county Legislator Luci McKnight Albany county Legislator
Luci McKnight

Actually, I don’t think He or His minions thought it out that far. I strongly suspect that Jennings deliberately left the Church and the Institute dangling in ignorance for ten days because He did not want to draw attention to Bathhouse #2. He knew how people would react to the unintended consequences of His applied neglect.

Let’s back up a bit. Let me tell you how everybody found out about this shameful looting of this municipal treasure, despite efforts by Jennings to suppress this information. Early Friday morning, April 19, I opened an email from my Albany County Legislator, Luci McKnight, that she had sent out late the night before:

This City of Albany Crime was committed over the Easter Sunday weekend! Apparently 2 large trucks were parked on the South Pearl Street Gas Station lot where thieves broke in and stole all or most of the copper wire and pipes. The APD did not report this incident. I just heard about it today. The St. John’s/St. Ann’s Catholic Church has been affected because by some crazy means their water system is connected from the bathhouse plumbing system. Pastor Sullivan is so concerned because he has stopped serving food and services to over 200 poor residents. Could the City Reps find out what happened and see if you can get the church’s $7,000 dollar water bill reduced.