The ‘Floating Pool Lady’ was commissioned in 1999 by The Neptune Foundation, and donated to the New York City Parks Department in 2008. The 260′ long barge was purchased and refitted in Louisiana in 2006, and was finally tugged to New York in 2007. It spent the 2007 summer docked at Brooklyn Bridge Park, and since 2008, it spends the warmer weather at Baretto Point Park. So far, over 50,000 swimmers have visited the pool. The Neptune Foundation’s original mission with the barge pool was to create a moveable waterfront pool that would provide recreational pools for underserved communities.
The Neptune Foundation raised $4 million to buy the barge and turn it into a pool. The pool holds 100,000 gallons and weighs about 4,040,960 pounds when full. Locker rooms, bathrooms, showers, a spray pool, and a snack bar are located on a raise court that overlooks the seven lane pool, 25 meter pool. It can accommodate 170 swimmers at once, and the barge is reached by two dramatic aluminum gangways that extend to the shore. The Floating Pool Lady is one of 50 pools that will be open this summer out of a total of 54 citywide pools. The city decided to close down the other four and shorten the pool season, saving a total of $1.4 million.
The concept of a “floating pool” on a barge is not new. New York City at one point had as many as 15 floating bathhouses along the East and Hudson rivers around the turn of the 19th century. Like The Floating Pool Lady the floating bathhouses were stationed in piers during the summer, usually near the tenement districts. The floating bathhouses served as The Nepturne Foundation’s main inspiration.
The Floating Pool Lady is not only really fun, but an excellent example of adaptive reuse. Hopefully, it doesn’t take another hundred years for NYC to get a new floating swimming pool.
Images via Jonathan Kirchenfeld