Configuration: 5 lanes of 25 yards
Fee: $15 weekday guest fee with resident (rising to $30 on weekends)
Fees to Date: $181.74
This is the true story of a dream encounter that came about thanks to the Internet and a little help from my friends. The in-person meeting revealed a pool that perhaps did not quite live up to my grand expectations, but we had an enjoyable evening together nonetheless.
The pool is Oceana at Brighton Beach, which you may recall me coveting back in February. It’s across the street from the Shorefront Y and backs up to the beach in a condo complex that counts Olympic backstroker Lenny Krayzelburg among its residents. From the aerial photo and beachside rumors, I convinced myself that it was enormous and that Lenny would be giving pointers from the deck.
My opportunity to visit came thanks to my friend and fellow birthday-goal-setter Christopher, who happened to meet an Oceana resident named Tim while swimming at the beach. Christopher put us in touch, and Tim was more than happy to oblige. The only catch was his limited time left at Oceana, as he is moving to the Midwest after eight years in residence, so I cajoled a friend into joining me and hurried out to visit him and his pool. The visitor fee of $15 is high for this miserly pool tourist, but after this offer landed in my lap, how could I refuse?
John and I arrived about an hour before closing last Wednesday evening and were immediately struck by the topiary (see above). The complex had a real community feel, with flowers abloom in neatly trimmed patches everywhere you looked, kids zipping about on bikes, and people socializing on the front stoops.
Tim brought us over to sign in at the clubhouse, where we scratched our heads over the locker room notice. There must be a reason for the mixed-gender cleaning schedule, but we’re not sure what it is. At any rate, the locker rooms were quite clean, with showers among the tallest I’ve seen.
Finally, the pool I coveted for so long was within reach! Tim injected a dose of reality into my dreams, letting us know that the size was just 25 yards and that Lenny is elusive. Further, he advised, “There is one lonely lap lane and common obstacles are kids and ladies with an amazing talent . . . they are able to slowly dog paddle while floating completely upright and without wetting their hair.” All of this turned out to be true, but it was nice to finally get to swim there nonetheless.
Behold, the pool. It’s got a circular shallow end with underwater stadium seating, a separate wading pool, a separate fountain, and a decent swim area. Upon beginning to swim, I discovered white-tiled lane markings on the bottom, a nice surprise that’s not visible from out of the water. While we were joined by a backstroker part of the time, I’m sorry to report that he was not Lenny. We also had the good company of a very young swimmer enthusiastically working on her butterfly–an inspiration to yours truly. People were friendly and relaxed, with pool-goers of all ages enjoying the scene, and we even had a nice chit-chat with a resident Realtor who’d noticed our telltale visitor wristbands. By all reports, Oceana is a lovely place to live.
When the pool closed at 8:00 p.m., the gate to the beach closed too, so we peered at the ocean from afar. The next stop was the attractive indoor pool, for sightseeing only, before leaving to explore more of Brooklyn’s culinary delights at a restaurant I’d been coveting with equal fervor. It was quite a fun evening and also a good example of how willpower can make dreams come true.