Monday, August 27, 2012

A Park Grows in Brooklyn (they have a pool too)

On a sunny day I decided to take my girls on a little excursion to Brooklyn Bridge Park. The park has greatly expanded since my last jaunt out there and there is a lot more coming. I thought about doing the ferry or subway, but ended up driving out. We parked under the Manhattan Bridge in Dumbo and walked from the northern part of the park south. After years of neglect it is great to see that we here in NYC have finally woken up to the fact we are surrounded by water. We are slowly reclaiming our waterfront and the Brooklyn Bridge Park is already on its way to being one of the jewels of the City.

We walked Under the Manhattan and Brooklyn Bridges, past the carousel and the coves and old warehouses down to The River Cafe. I couldn't help but reflect on how derelict and dangerous this part of Brooklyn used to be. You want to know where the bodies were buried? They were buried here.

This is where the newest part of the park starts. They have built up some hills and some nice lawns. The Syfy channel sponsors free movies in the summer on one of the lawns here and the gentle slope of that lawn leads to a point with views of lower Manhattan, New York Harbor and the Statue of Liberty. It is one of the best spots there is to watch a movie.

We kept walking south, towards Pier 2, past construction sites, looking for the pop up pool and sand beach that had supposedly sprouted up. I was skeptical, especially considering the massive construction going on, but then we spied a bunch of multi colored shipping containers and umbrellas behind some chain link fencing.

This was it. The pop up pool. I was worried we would be let down, but it was great. We were there on a Thursday afternoon and it was not too busy. I imagine that it is different on the weekend. There is a picnic area with tables, umbrellas and a little grill selling burgers, dogs and other food.

In between the picnic area and the pool they have built a little sand beach. It is filled with umbrellas and beach chairs for public use. It is wonderful. A little beach club under the BQE.

Then there is the pool. Here is how the system works. They have 45 minute swim sessions. They start on the hour. At :45 they clear and clean the pool area. The next session starts at the top of the next hour. They limit the number of swimmers to 60. They start handing out wrist bands a half hour before the next swim session. They have full changing rooms and bathrooms. It is all run very well.

You come get your wristband. You can relax on the grass, at a picnic table or in the sand. Right before your swim sessions starts you can go and change. They have lockers (bring your own lock). Then at the top of the hour it is time to get in the pool.

With a view of Manhattan in the background you can splash to your heart's content. The pool is 3 1/2 feet deep, cool and refreshing. It is almost as wide as it is long so there is a lot of room to move around. The pool was filled with families and couples, everyone having a good time. After some of the incidents at McCarren Pool and other public pools this summer I was expecting the worst but got the best. It was a great payoff for our travels.

After our swim session ended we got dressed and made our way back to the car. Along the way we passed the single coolest basketball hoop I have ever seen.

And of course no summer day is complete without ice cream, so we hit the Brooklyn Ice Cream Factory for a treat. The Chocolate Chocolate Chip was rich and delicious.

It was a great afternoon and reaffirmed my faith in the City. Next time we will take the water taxi and stay for the movie. I can't wait to see how the park grows.


  1. Awesome spot and never crowded. The whole redevelopment of the Brooklyn waterfront from Williamsburg to dumbo to Brooklyn Heights and Red Hook is so exciting. Good decisions are being made about the use of the space for the local dwellers and visitors to our mighty borough!

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