40 Pools

Celebrating a Big Birthday with 40 Swims

#12: LIU Brooklyn Pool

on March 1, 2012
LIU basketball court inside old Brooklyn Paramount Theatre

Brooklyn Paramount Theatre basketball court image courtesy of the internets.

Location: Fort Greene, Brooklyn

Configuration: 8 lanes of 25 yards

Fee: $13.33 with TNYA Splash Card

Total Fees to Date: $128.91

The basketball court in the old fitness center is a great reason to visit the LIU Brooklyn pool in the new fitness center. You enter campus via the former, which was originally the Brooklyn Paramount Theatre, described as the most beautiful movie theater in the world when it opened 1928. The theater closed in 1962 and the next year was transformed into, of all things, a basketball court. Remarkably, many aspects of the theater remain intact and exposed, including ornate balcony seating, an intricately latticed ceiling, and the elaborate proscenium and stage area. Apparently there’s even a Wurlitzer organ that used to play during games–talk about Linsane! (Word is that the new Wellness, Recreation, and Athletic Center aka WRAC hosts the basketball games now, sans organ, but the teams still sometimes practice in the old Paramount.)

Be sure to look around in here on your way to the pool. (You can also get a sense of the place in these pictures and these). Then, exit to the courtyard, walk past an outdoor seating area, go straight ahead into the new WRAC, and head one flight down for the locker rooms and pool.

Elisabeth, Conrad, me

Miss Co-President, coach Conrad, and me.

My trip to this marvel was prompted by fellow John Jay morning swimmer Elisabeth, who was just elected co-president of TNYA, the first time in my membership that we’ve had someone from the women’s locker room at the helm. (Go Elisabeth!) As part of her inauguration tour, she decided to visit our Brooklyn outpost, which has practices at the same time we usually swim at John Jay. Never one to miss a pool opportunity, I joined her there for this morning’s workout. I was also glad for the chance to swim a last workout with Conrad, whose stint as head coach ends soon.

LIU Brooklyn poolThe pool that hosted us opened in 2006 with the rest of the WRAC, which is much more slick, albeit less charming, than the converted theater. The new facility was designed by the founded-in-Miami firm Arquitectonica. Any connection to southern Florida bodes well for a pool, and indeed this one is well done and well maintained, though on the warm side today. It has 8 wide lanes plus an entry nook, a high set of windows on one side, and a view up into the campus Fitness Center on the other. The weather today is pretty dreary, but when it’s nice out the sun shines in. The locker rooms, too, are pleasantly spacious.

Like other private college pools, this one is generally not open to the public, so you’ll have to swim with my team or finagle another way in if you want to visit. [Update: Neighborhood residents who show ID can get in on Saturday afternoons approximately 12:30-3.] If you can’t make it as far as the pool, I hope you at least get to see the old basketball court.

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8 responses to “#12: LIU Brooklyn Pool

  1. Jo says:

    Great post! LOve the paramount theatre interior- is the facade still intact? LOve the old photo from the photos with the bob hope Jane Russell lettering! X Jo

  2. Lee says:

    Glad to hear you approve of the pool across the street from us! Local community folks are allowed in to swim on Saturdays, so we look forward to checking it out. Let us know if you return. And yes, the old Brooklyn Paramount being used for basketball practice is quite a delightful surprise!

    • Hannah says:

      Aha, good to know! In that case, you can help me with two questions. What is the name of the neighborhood where LIU is? (Naomi suggested FoGra [Fort Greene Adjacent] or EDoBro [East of Downtown Brooklyn].) And is there a link for the community hours? I looked but couldn’t find anything.

    • Hannah says:

      PS-I knew those swim diapers would come in handy for Mavis!

  3. This is so awesome!! I live in the neighborhood and had no idea there was a pool there… or that there were community hours! I can’t wait to try this pool out.

  4. Eileen says:

    Hi Hannah, I’m interested in joining the BK Master’s swim team T, W, TH at LIU. Can you let me know what an average am workout looks like for you guys? I want to get in shape so i can keep up.

    Thanks!

    • Hannah says:

      I think the workouts there are switching from one and a half hours to one hour, so the yardage will probably be around 3,000. You can try it out for free. Enjoy!

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