40 Pools

Celebrating a Big Birthday with 40 Swims

#10: McBurney YMCA

on February 17, 2012

Melissa, Hannah, Miriam at the end of practiceLocation: Chelsea, New York

Configuration: 7 lanes of 25 yards

Fee: Fitness Passbook pass (or use a free guest pass)

Total Fees to Date: $115.58

It’s fun to swim at the Y-M-C-A! This is especially true at the McBurney Y, which was the inspiration for the famous Village People song.

The Y has pools strategically located throughout New York. McBurney is one of the newer ones, replacing a facility of the same name that was on 23rd Street. The old McBurney, where the song came from, had a marble-lined pool where financiers Merrill and Lynch first met in 1913. The new McBurney, on 14th Street, has hosted someone even more noteworthy in my book: Michael Phelps. He visited in 2008 as part of a media event, and I’ve heard that he’s stopped by for a swim more recently as well.

He was not there this morning, but I was still in good company. Miriam (above right) was my official swim buddy for the day, and she arranged for me to join the master’s workout with coach Mark. Miriam is a member of my team, and she’s one of the most dedicated cheerers at events, always waving orange and blue pom-poms. Melissa (above left), Phyllis, and Elke were also part of the masters group, plus a couple people I had not met previously. Since we used just two lanes, we got a lot of personal attention from the coach and did a number of helpful stroke drills.

swim mural above the poolMy favorite thing about swimming here (aside from the good company) is a recent addition, a swimural by Arnie Charnick. Originally installed alongside the track that circles the top of the pool area, it was moved to its rightful home above the deep end last summer and can still be seen through the windows from the track and workout areas. It’s full of powerful-looking pool lovers swimming and playing–the big guy on the left looks like Michael Phelps to me–and I love the cool expressions of the swimmers in the middle lanes. Long kicks sets fly by with this mural as a distraction, because I notice something new in it during each lap.

True to its roots, the Y is a family facility. Since there’s only one pool here it’s kept pretty warm to accommodate all ages and types of users, and there is always plenty going on in the lounge area overlooking the pool as well as the rest of the Y.

There was almost a glitch with my pass. Apparently it’s only supposed to be used when the front desk is open, so they wanted me to wait an hour. I was able to convince the attendant to allow my entry in time for the masters group, however, and then stopped by the desk on my way out to complete the necessary paperwork. Next time I go at an off hour, I’ll try to remember to call ahead.

The fact that it’s mid-February and I’m already at pool #10 indicates faster-than-needed progress toward the goal of 40 pools by year-end. This is turning out to be so much fun that I think I’ll keep up the pool tourism and blog throughout 2012, even if the total ends up equaling a higher age. Keep the suggestions coming!

2 responses to “#10: McBurney YMCA

  1. Leslie says:

    Hi! Do you have any information on the Masters program at McBurney? Thank you!

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