Hamilton Fish Park PoolSwimming pool and wading pool constructed by the WPA in Hamilton Fish Park
Hamilton Fish Park was first opened in 1900, featuring a gymnasium and playground. In 1936, it was thoroughly remodeled and the new WPA swimming pool (the first of eleven to open that summer) became the main attraction. A June 1936 press release announced the opening of the new pool, describing it and the other WPA pools in glowing terms:
“Mayor LaGuardia, Park Commissioner Robert Moses and Works Progress Administrator Victor Ridder participated Wednesday in ceremonies in connection with the official opening of the Hamilton Fish Swimming Pool at East Houston and Sheriff Streets, on the lower east side of Manhattan. The Hamilton Fish Pool is the first of ten new swimming pools now under construction to be opened. They are being built by the Park Department with W.P.A. funds. This area includes a swimming pool 100 ft. x 165 ft., a semi-circular pool 100 ft. wide for skilled divers and a wading pool 50 ft. x 100 ft. for small children. These three tanks accommodate 1700 people at one time…
These pools are the most modern in the world. The swimming and diving tanks are designed and constructed for the maximum safety of bathers. The total area of all the pools is thirteen acres which, if placed between the building lines along Fifth Avenue, would extend northward from the Public library at 42nd street to Central Park at 60th Street. Their total capacity – 14,445,000 gallons – is sufficient to float either the Rex or Europa or supply cities like Albany or Utica one day’s supply of water. The water is filtered, treated with chemicals, heated to the proper temperature and recirculated by the most modern machinery and undergoes a complete turnover every eight hours. The pumps, piping and filters have been arranged for the most convenient inspection and maintenance. The filters have been arranged so they can be cleaned while the pools are in operation. All diving and swimming pools are equipped with underwater floodlights for night use. They will be operated entirely by uniformed civil service Park Department employees and will be opened to the public the same hours and at the same charge as at Hamilton Fish Pool.”
The NYC Parks site notes that the Hamilton Fish Pool “was so highly regarded that the U.S. Olympic Team used it for practice sessions on their way to the 1952 Helsinki Games.”
It was renovated in the early 1990s.
National Archives and Records Administration, Negative 7579-C "Hamilton Fish Park Highlights," NYC Parks and Recreation , last accessed October 2015 Department of Parks, Press Release, June 24, 1936
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