The River Street Club: A Gay Bathhouse Near Albany, New York

River Street Club gay sauna
photo credit: River Street Club

Perched on the east bank of the Hudson River a little less than 10 miles north of Albany, the city of Troy, N.Y., might be the smallest in the country with a gay bathhouse. Only about 50,000 people live in Troy, but the city is part of a metro area of more than 1.2 million that includes Albany, Schenectady, and a number of suburbs and smaller communities.

New York City has very few gay saunas, and Boston has none, which makes Troy's River Street Club one of the few such facilities in the Northeast. Providence, Rhode Island, with its popular Mega-Plex and Club Body Center, is the only other real option for men looking to hook up with other gay men in a bathhouse setting.

Located at 540 River Street in Troy, River Street Club is an easy drive here from Lark Street in Albany, which contains the bulk of the area's gay bars. You can access the River Street Club by car by taking Interstate 787 to exit 9E and continuing east along Route 7 until you get to River Street. The club is open on Monday through Thursday from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m., on Friday and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 11 p.m., and on Sunday from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.

General Information and Pricing

Like most gay bathhouses, River Street Club is a private club to which membership is required, but you can buy a one-day pass or a membership good for six months on your first visit.

The full six-month deal costs $50 (although less expensive memberships with fewer benefits are available), versus $15 for a single-time, four-hour pass. If you're planning to come back a few times, it makes sense to buy the six-month pass, but might not if this is your only trip to the city of Troy. There are also additional fees for basic locker rentals, and you can even pay a few dollars more for private rooms.

You must have a valid state or government identification to enter, and your name, date of birth, and zip code will be recorded by the club when you present your ID to the desk clerk. The club accepts cash, credit, Apple Pay, and Google Wallet.

River Street Club isn't a big facility, but it is clean and well-kept, with a gym, four-person sauna, steam room, six-man hot tub, and showers. The crowd tends toward the over-30 side, but this is a part of New York with numerous colleges and universities, and it's not uncommon to see students in here, especially later in the evenings.

No drugs or alcohol are allowed in the venue, and sexual intercourse is only permitted in private rooms, but nudity is allowed everywhere in the club. A towel will be provided, but you can also purchase jock straps, flip flops, and a variety of other scant outfits from the River Street Club's shop.

Your First Visit to River Street Club

On your first visit to the River Street Club, there are a few etiquette and club rules that you will need to review and a few things you will need to do to be allowed into the venue.

When you first check-in, you should ask the desk clerk if someone can give you a tour of the facilities so that you may familiarize yourself with the many rooms and features of the River Street Club available to guests.

You should know the rules of the club, including that no sexual acts may be committed in public view, which means that you'll need to rent or be invited to a private room to play with other men at this club.

The staff members also prefer for first-time patrons to check the pricing rates before they arrive and be aware that a locker or room must be rented with admission to the venue. You should know what you want to purchase (a day pass or a 6-month pass and a locker or a private room) when you arrive at the front desk.

While your first trip may be intimidating, remember to relax and be confident, and that consent is necessary to engage with anyone or for anyone to engage with you in any physical way. However, you should expect to be approached if you do come to the River Street Club, so remember to be kind and respectful while interacting with other patrons.

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