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Steve Ostrow, Manhattan Bathhouse Impresario, Dies at 91

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nytimes.com

Steve Ostrow, the founder of the Continental Baths — an extravagant gay men’s sex club and performance space that flourished at the turn of the 1970s in the basement of the Ansonia Hotel, a Beaux-Arts landmark on Manhattan’s Upper West Side, and launched the careers of Bette Midler and Barry Manilow — died on Feb.

3 at his home in Sydney, Australia. He was 91. His death was announced by Toby Usnik, a friend. Mr. Ostrow’s business plan in 1968 was to create a gay fantasia, a palace devoted to hedonism.

The Ansonia, built at the turn of the century by a copper heir named William Earl Dodge Stokes, was perfect for his venture.

Occupying a full block on Broadway, from 73rd Street to 74th Street, it is a florid wedding cake of a building, with cupolas, balconies and gargoyles.

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