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.
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.
The 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.