PODCAST The strange, scandalous and sex-filled story of The Ansonia, an Upper West Side architectural gem and a legendary musical landmark.
In the television show Only Murders in the Building, Martin Short, Steve Martin and Selena Gomez play podcasters attempting to solve a mystery in a building full of eccentric personalities.
Their fictional apartment building is called The Arconia, a name partially inspired by The Ansonia, a former residential hotel with a history truly stranger than fiction.
Built by the copper scion W.E.D Stokes, the lavish Ansonia remains one of the grandest buildings on the Upper West Side. But its hallways have seen some truly dramatic events including one of the greatest sports crimes in American history.
Today the Ansonia is still known as the home for great musicians and many of the most famous composers and opera stars have lived here.
But it’s the music legacy of the Continental Baths, a gay bathhouse once in its basement, that may resonate with pop and rock music lovers as the launching pad for one of America’s great performers.
PLUS: The hedonistic disco delights of Plato’s Retreat.
NOTE: This show feature discussions of adult sex clubs and bathhouses. Although the show does not linger on the specifics, parental guidance is nonetheless suggested.
LISTEN NOW: THE ANSONIA
Bette Midler at the Continental Baths:
A television commercial (!!!) for Plato’s Retreat
Eleanor Steber’s album recorded at the Continental Baths
The New York Herald article mentioned in the podcast where Stokes explains why women from Chicago have such large feet.
The Ansonia: A Pictorial History of Manhattan’s Beaux-Arts Masterpiece / The Cardinals
Built to Last: 100+ Year Old Hotels in New York / Stanley Turkel
“Design Notebook: Rescuing the Ansonia from the Rescuers” by Paul Greenberger
Eight Men Out: The Black Sox and the 1919 World Series / Eliot Asinof
Here Lies the Heart / Mercedes de Acosta
Live At The Continental / Steve Ostrow
The Sky’s The Limit: Passion and Property in Manhattan / Steven Gaines
“That Wacky Little Waif, Bette Midler” by Rex Reed (New York Daily News)
“A Troubled Transition for the Ansonia” by Shawn G. Kennedy
A View from a Broad / Bette Midler
Vision and Enterprise: Exploring the History of Phelps Dodge / Carlos A. Schwantes
After listening to this episode on the history of the Ansonia, check out these past episodes with similar themes and subjects
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