40 Pools

Celebrating a Big Birthday with 40 Swims

#8: Metropolitan Pool

on February 6, 2012
Nickname: Met Pool

Location: Williamsburg, Brooklyn

Fee: Free (first Mondays only)

Configuration: 3 lanes of 25 yards

Total to Date: $55.33

City of New York Parks & Recreation, how do I love thee? Let me count the ways, starting right here in Williamsburg:

  • You have a pool designed by the architect of the Lincoln Memorial.
  • The pool has such amazing natural light that it is almost like being outside.
  • One of the lanes bans breaststroke. Hello!
  • Tiled floral bouquets decorate the women’s showers.
  • The building entry is graced by an inspirational mural.
  • These wonders and more can be enjoyed free of charge.

This was my first visit to 90-year-old Met Pool. Due to a last-minute baby-sitter cancellation, the friend who was going to go with me couldn’t join in. I decided to make the trip anyway–it worked well with several errands and meetings on my list for today, and there is a chance that my Mondays will become less conducive to pool tourism–and will gladly return with my friend, who is sure to love it here as well.

After last week’s space crunch at LaGuardia, I checked regarding the swim session and learned that the pool would be fully devoted to lap lanes, but I still wasn’t sure what to expect. The pictures show striping for six lanes, but it’s set up with just two lane lines, making three pleasantly wide lanes for circle swimming. Swimmers were in and out constantly during my hour-and-a-half swim, with a maximum of about eight in the lane and a minimum of three. People were friendly and observed good etiquette for the most part.

My favorite thing was the skylight, which sounds small when described as such, but is comparable in size to the pool itself. Check out the first two photos, above right, to see how the copper shone a number of years ago, and how elegant it looks now with its green patina. I swam lots of backstroke just to enjoy the sunlight.

The pool hall and pool itself are lined with white-glazed terra cotta bricks, which make a nicer swim surface than you might imagine. The black lines on the bottom go all the way to the wall, but there are no other markings, so you do have to keep an eye out for the oncoming wall. The temperature was pleasantly cool, and the visibility good.

Located in a part of Brooklyn that is cuter than I’d like to admit, this pool has quite a following among newcomers to the neighborhood and long-time residents alike, as well as a dedicated staff that recently earned top honors from the Parks Department. To accommodate the large Hasidic population nearby, it even offers women-only sessions several times a week.

If you’re looking for a Valentine’s Day gift for yourself, or perhaps a swim date, bring your love of pools here. You’ll be glad you did.


Image borrowed from Medhat Salam Associates, Architects

Met Pool skylight

The cooper ceiling has taken on a patina like the Statue of Liberty since being shined up in a late 1990s renovation.

Met Pool fast lane: no breaststroke allowed

A lane that does not allow breaststroke is the lane for me! (Will travel to kick.)

Met pool mural: Let the good spirit grow

"Let the good spirit grow." This mural to the left as you enter the building depicts happenings in the pool pretty accurately.

Met Pool facade

2 responses to “#8: Metropolitan Pool

  1. david barra says:

    love the no breast stroke lane!

  2. Zoe Waldron says:

    What a beautiful pool, thanks for the post.

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