53 Public Pools Are Now Open for the Summer in NYC

It’s that time of the year again when scorching hot temperatures make summer nearly unbearable for New York City residents, but do not fret. Today, NYC’s 53 outdoor public pools have opened and will remain open through Sept. 8. Last summer, 1.7 million people used the pools, and the best part of the city’s pools? They’re all free! Plus, there are a whopping 900 lifeguards patrolling these urban pools, making them safe environments to bring your little ones to this summer.

Liam Kavanagh, the city’s first deputy parks commissioner, said the pools are an attempt at giving five borough residents and families some of the summer fun they can’t always enjoy in such urban settings, as a means to “help provide vacations for some people who don’t have the ability to leave the city in the summertime.”

The pools are generally open 11am-7pm, with an hour break occurring at 3pm so the pool can be cleaned and staff members can take their lunch breaks. There are some rules that come with the free entry, though. Wearing a conventional bathing suit is a must—attendants will check for this at the entrance. You should also make sure you have some sort of bag or shorts pockets where you could stuff your belongings. While the pools provide pool-goers with storage lockers, you’ll need to bring your own lock.

Just like every public swimming space, these pools also have ground rules in regard to what is and what isn’t allowed on the pool deck. While swimmers can bring white T-shirts, hats, towels, sunglasses, sunblock, rash guards, flip-flops, and a book or magazine, they cannot bring cellphones, colored shirts, food, newspapers, floaties, or glass bottles. Babies and toddlers are required to wear swim diapers in the water. While these rules may seem strict, Kavanagh expressed he felt they were needed to maintain the pools as safe environments for the public and “to prevent a host of issues we’d rather not deal with,” he said.  “Some [rules] were created at a time when there was more crime in the city and when we were concerned with problems making pools unpleasant and unsafe.”

Having the luxury of being able to take a dip in the middle of the bustling city is simply something that cannot be taken for granted. And the work that has gone into making this possible will make you appreciate the experience even more. Park officials said they are working all year to maintain the city’s public pools and prepare them in time for opening, scraping, patching, and repainting the surfaces, checking for leaks in the water lines, and maintaining or repairing the filter systems.

“We call it the miracle of outdoor pools,” Kavanagh said. “But it’s not a miracle. We spend enormous amounts of time and money and have hundreds of park workers preparing them.

To find the free New York City public pool in your neighborhood, visit nycgovparks.org.