Brooklyn’s Depression-era swimming pools are still a splash!
Dozens of kids, synchronized swimmers and city parks honchos celebrated 75 years of outdoor public pools in Red Hook on Monday.
The 1930s-themed party honored the Works Progress Administration — the city agency that built 11 public pools during a record-hot New York summer — by hosting jazz musicians, swimming-cap clad relay racers and even some sweaty city officials, who cooled off in the decades-old Red Hook Pool.
“It’s a testament to the era that these pools are still functioning,” said Meghan Lalor, a spokeswoman for the city. “We’re still giving New Yorkers a free, safe clean place to swim.”
The massive outdoor pools — which ranged from the now-shuttered McCarren Park Pool to the still bumpin’ Sunset Park Pool — cooled off 43,000 swimmers at any given time. They came as a safe alternative to river swimming, complete with then-state of the art heating, filtration and lighting systems.
At the anniversary event, Borough President Markowitz mingled in the shade with parks officials as the city announced its new NYC Swim Council, which aims to teach kids basic swimming skills.
These days, the city has 54 public pools — with Brooklyn boasting some of the best outdoor watering holes, from 11 am to 7 pm (minus one hour between 3 and 4 pm), seven days a week until Labor Day — like the Double D Pool in Gowanus and Commodore Barry Pool in Fort Greene.
“[It’s] important for kids and their parents to have these pools during long, hot Brooklyn summers,” said Markowitz.
©2011 Community News Group
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