Lack of pools leaves many dry and angry
NYC ranks dead last among major cities in public spots to take a dip
On a steamy summer day, New Yorkers flock to the city’s 54 outdoor pools, but New York ranks dead last in pools per capita among the nation’s largest cities, according to the watchdog group NYC Park Advocates.
A new $66.3 million recreation center in Flushing Meadows-Corona Park boasted the first indoor pools in 40 years, but “sometimes it’s so crowded they turn people away,” complained Irina Gomez, who waited to get in on Saturday.
The Flushing Meadows-Corona Park Aquatic Center warns members — who’ve already paid $75 to join — that they’ll have to claim a wristband “for guaranteed admittance” a full hour before the start of an open swim. On Saturday, one of the three pools had been rented to a private swim club.
The center is operated by USA Pools, which collects a fee from the city and returns 25 percent of its income from rentals, classes and merchandise sales.
Eight miles southwest in the Lower East Side is the “Whitehouse,” an abandoned recreation center in the midst of the La Guardia Houses. Last week, local Councilman Alan Gerson conducted a tour of the center for city officials. Residents hope to get their pool back.
“It was fine when they closed it in the 1970s,” said Michael Steele, 53, “but now it’s a mess.”