17 Best Images About Vintage New York’s Water Fights And Packed City Pools


April 15th, 2017   |   Updated on June 30th, 2022

A fascinating series of black and white photos has captured the excitement and enthusiasm of New Yorkers welcoming the arrival of 11 pools around the city during the 1930s as they splash around, swim competitively and people watch at these new social hubs. Check out be blow

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1. A swimming contest is in full swing on August 20, 1936 at the Astoria Park Pool – the largest of the 11 WPA pools opened only on July 2 of the same year during the great heatwave. Hell Gate Bridge – a 1,017-foot steel through arch railroad bridge connecting Astoria in Queens and Randalls and Wards Islands in Manhattan – can be seen in the background


2. Children play and splash around in the shallow waters of the wading pool at Carmansville Playground. Today the small public space features basketball and handball courts and a children’s playground



3. The Thomas Jefferson Park Pool opened on June 27, 1936 and 10,000 people attended the ceremony where Mayor Firorello La Guardia said: ‘Here is something you can be proud of. It is the last word in engineering, hygiene, and construction that could be put into a pool.’



4. Astoria Park Pool has always been a key place for the community to come together and in the early 1940s a group of young male swimmers would perform in the pool every week complete with costumes, treating audiences to choreographed swimming acts with music, backdrops, props, and on occasion, even dogs


5. Astoria Park Pool is 330ft long, with a capacity for 3,000 people. The highly popular pool has an Art Deco design and proved the model for other new pools in the city



6. The Jackie Robinson Pool in Manhattan opened on August 8, 1936 and was originally known as Colonial Park Pool. The facility showcased Bill ‘Bojangles’ Robinson singing Battle Hymm of the Republic to a crowd of 25,000



7. This new era of active recreation was thanks to the Departments of Parks harnessing the labour force of the Works Progress Administration – the largest and most ambitious American New Deal agency which employed millions of unemployed people to carry out public works projects. Pictured is Colonial Park Pool


8. The McCarren Park Pool opened on July 31, 1936. The pool was designed to accommodate 6,800 bathers at a time and its bathhouse was the largest in the system, large enough to serve the thousands that used the pool daily



9. Bathing youngsters throw their hands up for the camera whilst cooling off in McCarren Park Pool, the spires of the city’s skyscrapers just visible in the background


10. McCarren Park Pool is a year-round centre of community life. The park around the pool is 35 acres and is the site of endless games of kickball, soccer, baseball, bocce, handball, basketball, football, and tennis and more


11. Red Hook Pool opened on August 17, 1936 with 40,000 people attending the opening, leading The New York Times to describe it as ‘Red Hook’s event of the year’



12. Faber Park and Pool is situated on what was once the north shore home of the Faber family who began a lead pencil manufacturing company in Stein, Germany, in 1761. The family later moved to New York and started the first lead pencil factory in the United States. A 1987 merger resulted in the formation of Faber-Castell



13. Pictured: Red Hook Pool on August 1, 1940 is open from late June until Labor Day like the other pools in the city



14. Betsy Head Pool opened on August 6 in 1936 (pictured on March 20, 1940). A pool at this Brownsville site dated to 1915 and was one of only two outdoor pools in the Parks system before 1936



15. The building at Betsy Head Pool set the bar for recreation facilities across the country. Today visitors to the park area can enjoy pastimes from shooting baskets, swimming, jogging around the track, or taking a personal tour of the landmark building



16. WPA-era pools were created in styles ranging from Romanesque Revival to Art Decoc. Pictured: Flushing Meadows-Corona Park Pool Queens in 1946



17. In 1966, a pilot program under the Lindsay administration created portable pools. ‘Swimmobiles’ began during the Heckscher administration, quite literally taking pools to the streets to underserved areas


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Source: dailymail.co.uk