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A popular neighborhood pool’s broken boiler is raising shivers among Williamsburg’s swimmers used to exercising in warmer waters.
Beloved by serious swimmers, seniors and novices alike, the Metropolitan Pool and Recreation Center (261 Bedford Ave.) has over 6,000 members, hundreds of whom use the fitness center on a weekly basis. Lately, staff members have observed a decline in swimmers using the pool after problems with the building’s boiler began to arise.
Just before Christmas, swimmers began noticing that the pool’s temperature became unusually cold and that the showers began malfunctioning, spurting water in extreme temperatures, making them difficult to endure.
“We were experiencing problems with the boiler as it frequently leaked water and went out of service, causing water in the pool, showers and the building’s temperature to often drop,” said city Parks spokesperson Philip Abramson.
According to Metropolitan Pool member and Brooklyn resident Sandrine Canac, she would sometimes have to flush the toilets in the women’s locker room to compensate for freezing shower temperatures, which she called a “ridiculous but funny thing to do and witness.”
“As for the pool itself, it feels like 60 degrees Fahrenheit, maybe below, but I’m not sure,” said Canac. “You can tell by the face of people getting in the water that they’re definitely not enjoying their first 10 minutes. I stay in the water for about 50 minutes and it takes me about 2 hours after that to feel warm again.”
Pool staff members have said that the temperature is closer to 68 degrees Fahrenheit, and while lap swimmers have not been dissuaded, they have noticed fewer children using the pool in the winter months.
Parks officials hope to rectify the situation this week as a subcontractor installed new piping and tubing to a temporary heating unit located outside the recreation center. According to Abramson, once the installation is complete, Parks officials will shut down the leaky boiler and switch to the temporary unit.
“A new boiler will then be installed inside of the center once it receives its approval from the Department of Buildings,” said Abramson.
For now, swimmers will have to bear it. Two posters of a shivering penguin at the recreation center’s front desk remind pool users of the ongoing construction and the icy waters that await them.
“I know the membership is cheap so I should not complain too much but I’m kind of loosing patience and so are the other ladies,” said Canac. “I didn’t sign up for boot camp!”
©2010 Community Newspaper Group
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