40 Pools

Celebrating a Big Birthday with 40 Swims

#61: Dwight School Athletic Center Pool

on October 27, 2013
Dwight School pool deep end

Photo courtesy Bob Nelson.

Location: East Harlem, Manhattan

Configuration: 6 lanes x 25 yards

Fee: $10.25 with TNYA subscription

Because the City College pool has been out of service for an extended period of time, my ever-resourceful team has added yet another venue to its schedule: the Dwight School Athletic Center. Ever curious, I checked it out last Thursday evening. Rental fees are high, so we had just three lanes for an hour-long workout with Coach Matt, even though no one else was using the other three lanes. It was lovely.

locker roomThis feels like a new pool. It’s sparkling clean and so freshly painted that you can practically smell it. All the latest pool toys are available, there is an on-deck shower and water fountain, and the locker room has plenty of space and pleasantly tall showers. The water is a deep, twilighty blue.

Amazingly, this “new” pool is about my age. It was built in the 1970s for 1199 Plaza, aka East River Landing, an affordable coop development with more than 1,500 apartments. A renovation in the 1990s didn’t have lasting effects, but this recent renovation is part of a 20-year agreement inaugurated earlier this year with the Dwight School, an Upper West Side private school in need of athletic space for its students to develop their individual “spark of genius.” Tennis, volleyball, and basketball are some of the other sporting possibilities here. There are also fee-based community hours, including lap swimming daily from 7:00 to 10:00 a.m.

pool rulesSome have surmised that the cleanliness is due to lack of use. Certainly my sole visit showed nothing to the contrary. It is, however, worth noting the extensive pool rules, the most emphatic of which–in all caps, mid-sign–mandates rubber pants (?) for all children under four. Swim caps are required for all as well. Perplexingly for this underground location, if there is lightning, the pool closes for half an hour.

doorwayAnother perk is the location just a mile up the street from me. Like the nearby Thomas Jefferson Park Pool, the means of entrance is not immediately obvious from the street, but if you walk off the street into the complex, between two buildings, you’ll see the sign.

We’ll find out this week if the City College pool is reopening. While I hope to see that pool back online, and to resume one-and-a-half hour evening workouts, I do encourage a visit to this pool while we have it.

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