40 Pools

Celebrating a Big Birthday with 40 Swims

#44: Lasker Pool

on August 30, 2012
Lasker Pool by Janet

Thanks to Janet for this picture.

Location: Central Park, Harlem, New York

Configuration: Oval with lap crossing of up to about 60 meters. The max width and height are 190′ x 240 ‘.

Fee: Free

Fees to Date: $181.74

Lasker Pool has been torturing me all summer. I pass it on my way to work as I bike down the big hill in Central Park toward the park exit. There it is, all blue and sparkly, beckoning me to come swim. Fortunately, at the time I pass by the only activity allowed is children’s lessons, so the fantasy of stopping for a dip is not a possibility in reality. Other times of the day are fair grab, as it has a busy early bird and night owl lap scene, and there’s usually a lap lane open in the middle of the pool during daytime and weekend general swim sessions.

pool view from the Loop Road

Hannah, come swim here, the pool beckons as I pass by on my way to work.

Piez organized a Pool Tourism Club visit to the pool last Friday for early bird lap swim. Joining us were Janet, John, Kent, Joe, and birthday-boy Larry. We marked the occasion by seeing how far we could get in 58 strokes and estimated that the lap area we chose was 58 meters across–suitable for a 58th birthday.  Afterward, Kathleen met up with us at Piez’s for breakfast. It was a great combination of swimming and socializing.

In fact, Lasker seemed to serve a large social function, with much more talking than swimming among all users. We were lucky to get a spot in the pool with lane lines nearby and a black line on the bottom. On the way across, a perpendicular current in the middle of the pool provided an interesting challenge to navigation, likewise the curved metal walls, which test the mettle of even the most dedicated flip-turner.

phone, anyone?As I learned thanks to Van Cortlandt, this pool was the only oasis built by the city Parks department between the WPA era and the 1970s. It opened in 1966, and I’d like to think that the circular shape, which is mirrored in the bathhouse, is a nod to that time period’s grooviness. The bank of phones in the bathhouse also seemed very 1960s to me, though it’s quite possible they came later.

Kathleen, Janet, John, Piez, me, and birth-day boy Larry at brunch. Photo by Kent.

Kathleen, Janet, John, Piez, me, and birth-day boy Larry at brunch. Photo by Kent.

While the Flushing Meadows pool is housed in a complex with a skating rink, this is the only pool I’ve been to that actually turns into a skating rink in the winter, for a time period much longer than swim season, I might add. In other words, if I liked ice skating, I would be tempted to stop off here for a quick spin on my way to work in the chillier months. Instead, starting next week, I’ll just long for the pool to start torturing me again.

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2 responses to “#44: Lasker Pool

  1. Jen says:

    I swam at laser last week on the way home from work! The showers rival those at CCNY for sheer potential-horror-movie-set-ness.

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