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Vintage Photos Of Swimming In New York’s Open Air Pools

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“As you swim,” wrote Anaïs Nin,“you are washed of all the excrescences of so-called civilization, which includes the incapacity to be happy under any circumstances.” Nin wrote that whilst taking the waters off in Acapulco, Mexico, in the winter of 1947. New York City was another place. “In New York people seem intent on not seeing each other,” she went on. “Only children look with such unashamed curiosity.

So, how about stripping off and taking a dip in a New York open air pool? After all, swimming is good for the soul.

 

New York c. 1960 NYC Parks Department Swimmobile.

c. 1960
NYC Parks Department Swimmobile.

 

As Curbed writes: “In 1936 eleven WPA swimming pools opened in the city, giving New Yorkers sweet relief from the heat. The pools were feats of engineering for the time, plus each was architecturally distinct.”

You can see some of them here.

 

1946 Flushing Meadows-Corona Park Pool. New York

1946
Flushing Meadows-Corona Park Pool.

1946 Betsy Head Pool. New York City

1946
Betsy Head Pool.

 

“The truth is an abyss. One must – as in a swimming pool – dare to dive from the quivering springboard of trivial everyday experience and sink into the depths, in order later to rise again … to the now doubly illuminated surface of things.”

– Franz Kafka.

 

Aug. 1, 1940 Red Hook Pool.

Aug. 1, 1940
Red Hook Pool.

New York March 20, 1940 Betsy Head Pool.

March 20, 1940
Betsy Head Pool.

 

“To be, or not to be: that is the question: Whether ’tis nobler in the mind to suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune, or to take arms against a sea of troubles…”

And indeed, that IS the question: whether to float with the tide, or to swim for a goal. It is a choice we must all make consciously or unconsciously at one time in our lives. So few people understand this! Think of any decision you’ve ever made which had a bearing on your future: I may be wrong, but I don’t see how it could have been anything but a choice however indirect — between the two things I’ve mentioned: the floating or the swimming.

– Hunter. S. Thopmpson

 

Aug. 14, 1938 Red Hook Pool. New York

Aug. 14, 1938
Red Hook Pool.

July 1938 Faber Park Pool.

July 1938
Faber Park Pool.

July 12 1937 McCarren Park, New York

July 12 1937 McCarren Park, New York

New York July 12, 1937 McCarren Park Pool.

July 12, 1937
McCarren Park Pool.

New York July 12, 1937 McCarren Park Pool.

July 12, 1937
McCarren Park Pool.

New York 1936 Colonial Park Pool (now Jackie Robinson Park).

1936
Colonial Park Pool (now Jackie Robinson Park).

New York 1936 Colonial Park Pool (now Jackie Robinson Park).

1936
Colonial Park Pool (now Jackie Robinson Park).

New York Aug. 20, 1936 Astoria Park Pool.

Aug. 20, 1936
Astoria Park Pool.

 

This summer I did swan dives
And jackknifes for you all
And once when you weren’t looking
I did a cannonball, I did a cannonball.

– Loudon Wainwright III, Swimming Song

 

New York July 29, 1936 Astoria Park Pool.

July 29, 1936
Astoria Park Pool.

New York July 1936 Thomas Jefferson Park Pool.

July 1936
Thomas Jefferson Park Pool.

NEw York July 1935 Wading pool, Carmansville Playground.

July 1935
Wading pool, Carmansville Playground.

New York Aug. 20, 1936 Swimming contest, Astoria Park Pool, Hell Gate Bridge in background.

Aug. 20, 1936
Swimming contest, Astoria Park Pool, Hell Gate Bridge in background.

Via: Mashable, NY Parks

  • Tehran Tom Cotton

    the cars in the first picture of the swimmobile looks newer than 1960, perhaps 1970.