Beating the heat, and the pollution, in New York rivers
June 24, 2011 10:28 AM   Subscribe

The long-polluted New York rivers are getting cleaner, but can still be dangerous to swim in. There are efforts underway to clean up the Bronx River, but that will take years, if not decades. Until then, signs are posted, warning would-be swimmers, yet people still risk sickness to battle the heat. One current safe solution is the Floating Pool Lady, a barge that was remade into an 82-foot-long city parks department swimming pool. She first arrived in the Bronx in 2008, and she'll return to the Bronx in a week. There's a new Big Idea to bring swimmers back into the rivers: the +Pool, a floating swimming pool located within a river, designed with a series exterior walls to filter the river water and make it safe to swim in. While that's in the early design stages, you can take a chance and jump in a swimming hole.
posted by filthy light thief (26 comments total) 9 users marked this as a favorite

 
I once went kayaking on the East River.

There's a reason we don't usually get that close to the East River.
posted by Afroblanco at 10:32 AM on June 24, 2011


+Pool + Gowanus = Superhero Factory.
posted by griphus at 10:35 AM on June 24, 2011 [4 favorites]


My grandfather used to swim in the East River. A lot.

I guess what I'm trying to say is that it's not my fault I'm like this.
posted by evidenceofabsence at 10:37 AM on June 24, 2011 [2 favorites]


They're also warning fishermen. This eerily vague was posted a few blocks from where I live. I wish someone would tell me what my "eel limit" ought to be.
posted by hermitosis at 10:39 AM on June 24, 2011


I'm happy that my kid gets to swim in the much-cleaned-up Hudson River, whereas we made the same sort of jokes about it when I was a kid.
posted by mikepop at 10:40 AM on June 24, 2011


I wish someone would tell me what my "eel limit" ought to be.

It's not the eels, it's the mercury.

This is one of the reasons I live in Stockholm. We can swim anywhere in the capital city in our beautiful, clean (albeit often cold) water - and often do. I'll trade that for the ability to eat a restaurant meal at 3AM any day of the week.
posted by three blind mice at 10:45 AM on June 24, 2011


Down state fish advisories. Looks like your American eel limit is 4 meals per month, while your goldfish(!) limit is one per month. That sucks because east river goldfish is damn tasty.

Don't eat the eels from the upper bay north of the Verrazano.
posted by Ad hominem at 10:53 AM on June 24, 2011


three blind mice: "This is one of the reasons I live in Stockholm. We can swim anywhere in the capital city in our beautiful, clean (albeit often cold) water - and often do."

Why do you hate freedom so much?
posted by schmod at 10:56 AM on June 24, 2011


The Thames is swimmable as long as it hasn't rained recently, when they finish the next generation of sewer upgrades it should be safe year-round.
posted by atrazine at 11:05 AM on June 24, 2011


Awesome! I want to swim in a swimming hole.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 11:28 AM on June 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


There's a new Big Idea to bring swimmers back into the rivers: the +Pool, a floating swimming pool ...

Some big idea. Sheesh. Since they're soliciting funds locally, why do they call this the +Pool and not the xPool? As in Bronx?

It'd be cheap to change as they'd only have to rotate it 22.5 degrees.
posted by hal9k at 11:34 AM on June 24, 2011


There are other inventive ways of swimming in New York...
posted by kinnakeet at 12:01 PM on June 24, 2011


Google Sat view of the barge (coords found via swimming hole link).
posted by Brian Puccio at 12:01 PM on June 24, 2011


There are other inventive ways of swimming in New York...

Did they not realize you can get above ground pools in Brooklyn?
posted by Ad hominem at 12:07 PM on June 24, 2011


I don't understand why you can't just swim in a pool?
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 12:08 PM on June 24, 2011


There is a public pool in Red Hook I swam in as a kid, guess they wanted to keep their dumpster pools all VIP. Even though if they are by the canal they are probably only 5 blocks away, wouldn't want to mix with the locals I guess.
posted by Ad hominem at 12:16 PM on June 24, 2011


Did they not realize you can get above ground pools in Brooklyn?

I don't understand why you can't just swim in a pool?


What's the price per square foot for waterfront property in Brooklyn?
posted by zamboni at 12:24 PM on June 24, 2011


I wish someone would tell me what my "eel limit" ought to be.

When your hovercraft is full of them?
posted by dhartung at 12:24 PM on June 24, 2011 [2 favorites]


kinnakeet: There are other inventive ways of swimming in New York...

Ah, yes: Dumpster pools, previously


The 10th Regiment of Foot: I don't understand why you can't just swim in a pool?

From the 2008 article on the Floating Pool Lady coming to the Bronx: There is not a single public pool in all of Community District 2. I don't know how many public pools there are. Anyway, it seems like a taunt to have so much water near by, yet you cannot get into it.

Out in my neck of the woods, there's a lovely body of water that is open for fishing and boating, but no swimming. It's not due to pollution, though: it's a domestic drinking water supply, and it's easier to get boat fuel out of the water than it is to remove the things that live in and on people. Weird, but true.
posted by filthy light thief at 12:28 PM on June 24, 2011


Did they not realize you can get above ground pools in Brooklyn?

I don't understand why you can't just swim in a pool?

What's the price per square foot for waterfront property in Brooklyn?

I was talking about the dumpster pools, they already had space to put dumpsters. They could have put an actual above ground pool.

As for public pools, here is one mere blocks from the dumpster pools.
posted by Ad hominem at 12:28 PM on June 24, 2011


When they cleaned up the Hudson River, some kind of boring worm came back to life and ate the pilings under the Financial Center park, and it had to be rebuilt.
posted by StickyCarpet at 12:39 PM on June 24, 2011


What's the price per square foot for waterfront property in Brooklyn?

Why does it have to be waterfront property? There's absolutely no disused property in Brooklyn?
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 12:44 PM on June 24, 2011


There are actually plenty of places they could put pools even if they wanted to put them on waterfront property. New york used to be a port city, there are docks and warves and all sorts of shit nobody wanted to live near, I wouldn't be surprised if most of Manhattan on the Hudson river is owned by the port authority, or the city.

Here are baseball diamonds, a soccer field and a skate park on the hudson river, they could tuck a pool in there.

Here are public tennis courts, lets put a couple pools there too.

This is Industry City in brooklyn, right past Red Hook, there is acres of parking lots, warehouses and docks gone to shit.
posted by Ad hominem at 1:05 PM on June 24, 2011


According to the Parks Department, floating pools have been around since the 19th century. Had no idea.

Also, FYI: "As another steamy summer approaches, New Yorkers can find relief in one of 34 outdoor pools, 19 outdoor mini-pools and 12 indoor pools in the New York City parks system. Parks outdoor pools are free and open to the public from late June (after City schools let out for the summer) until Labor Day." Plus, $75 will buy you a year's access to the indoor pools, which are open through the winter, as well as all of the city's rec centers, which have gym equipment. The Chelsea Rec Center is particularly gorgeous, and a bit less splashy-splashy teenagers.

As goes why there isn't a pool on the waterfront in Industry City, three reasons. First, there's still a bunch of heavy industry there, especially on weekdays. Second, that area gets a little shady after dark; the streetwalkers and the Sweet Cherry gone, but creepy dudes still show up for the Wild Wild West, now open as Peyton's Playpen. Third, there's already a pool just up the street, right where people live.

It is right next to Brooklyn Liquors, though.
posted by evidenceofabsence at 4:00 PM on June 24, 2011 [2 favorites]


When they cleaned up the Hudson River, some kind of boring worm came back to life and ate the pilings under the Financial Center park, and it had to be rebuilt.

I dunno, sounds pretty interesting to me...
posted by !Jim at 7:46 PM on June 24, 2011 [2 favorites]


StickyCarpet writes "When they cleaned up the Hudson River, some kind of boring worm came back to life and ate the pilings under the Financial Center park, and it had to be rebuilt."

Slightly more detail:
An interesting related item is that cleaning up the Hudson River has had an unexpected consequence. The most damaging thing to a wooden boat bottom is a toredo worm which can grow several feet long and just keep munching the wood as it bores a holes. Now that the River is cleaner, these worms are back. Much of river front (East river too) is bordered with large piers - some 800 or more feet long. These are supported by creosoted pilings, and of course the creosote is pretty well gone after a number of years of strong river currents washing by them. These pilings were getting eaten left and right so a few years ago the City started a program of having divers grease each piling and wrapping it in heavy plastic. Early reports are that it works, but they still have a way to go to treat all 2,000,000 pilings.
evidenceofabsence writes "As another steamy summer approaches, New Yorkers can find relief in one of 34 outdoor pools, 19 outdoor mini-pools and 12 indoor pools in the New York City parks system."

that seems totally inaequate. My city of 80K or so has two public indoor pools, an outdoor public pool, several water parks and kilometres of river beach adjacent to water you can swim in.
posted by Mitheral at 5:01 PM on June 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


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