40 Pools

Celebrating a Big Birthday with 40 Swims

#5: NYU Palladium Natatorium

on January 18, 2012

me and Lance finishing up at NYU Palladium

Location: East Village, New York

Fee: $10 guest pass with member accompaniment

Configuration: 8 lanes of 25 yards (or 25 meters in the other direction)

Total to Date: $50.33

Today’s swim was exciting for many reasons. It was the first time since starting this project that I visited a pool I’d never been to. My swim buddy was Lance, who I’ve swum with at the beach and in the Hudson and had the pleasure of watching during some amazing races, and who filled in as crew for my Ederle Swim attempt after a last-minute date change a few years ago–but who I’d never done a pool workout with. Plus, Lance is coached remotely by Patrick, who Piez and I swam with at a training camp in Florida two years ago, so by proxy I had him as coach again today.

I really enjoyed both the workout and the pool. The pool natatorium is below street level in a building that’s named after a famous nightclub that stood on the site until the late 1990s. Although I never went there, I remember hearing about it. For some reason I thought it had a different kind of pool–billiards–but I haven’t found any substantiation of that. Anyway, that got demolished and NYU built a new dorm and athletic facility in its place, and that’s where we swam today. They seem to have been smart about hydrodynamics in the construction, as my times were fast today, and Lance agreed that it’s a fast pool. The water temperature felt chilly after the warm outdoor pool in Florida, but actually it was just right–high 70s. We had a lane to ourselves the entire time.

reflection of lighting looks pretty in the windows

The ceiling is illuminated by thin bands of light all the way across, and I really liked the way they made Art Deco-esque patterns in the curved windows looking down on the pool, which you can kind of see in this photo taken from the diving area. Other things I liked: the locker rooms (spacious and well equipped on two floors), the views (basketball courts at pool level, reflecty windows up above), the music playing, the width of the lanes, the lifeguard who kindly snapped the top photo, and the chance to watch some speedy swimmers in the two lanes reserved for  team members. (NYU is a member of the University Athletic Association, a D-III conference of major urban research institutions, meaning that swimmers may travel as far as Cleveland or Rochester for meets.) The only complaint I’ll lodge is about the metal rim that goes pretty deep around the edge of the pool; it is very slippery to push off of, resulting in foot cramps.

Use of the Palladium Athletic Facility is only available to NYU students, alumni, employees, and their families–and NYPD/FDNY, including Lance. The rest of us are allowed in with members for a fee but can’t join in our own right. When I told Lance about my 40 Pools project, he immediately offered up this pool, and I jumped at the opportunity. Many of the other suggested pools are new to me as well, and I look forward to knocking them off throughout the year.

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One response to “#5: NYU Palladium Natatorium

  1. Hannah says:

    Lisa Lisa knew why I thought there used to be billiards at this location. She reports that this block of14th Street was the mecca of pool activity in the 1980s due to Julian’s Billiards, which was the place to be if you were a cool high school kid. Sure enough, I found Julian’s in one of my trusty 1990s Fodor’s guides, which means it was still there when I moved to town. Its address is now held by Trader Joe’s, which is in the Palladium building and a great place to shop after your swim.

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