Stunning Vintage Photos Of Swimming In New York’s Open Air Pools In 1930s


July 1935. Wading pool, Carmansville Playground.

“As you swim,” wrote Anaïs Nin,“you are washed of all the excrescences of so-called civilization, which includes the incapacity to be happy under any circumstances.” Nin wrote that whilst taking the waters off in Acapulco, Mexico, in the winter of 1947.

New York City was another place. “In New York people seem intent on not seeing each other,” she went on. “Only children look with such unashamed curiosity.”

So, how about stripping off and taking a dip in one of New York’s Open Air Pools? After all, swimming is good for the soul.

As Curbed writes: “In 1936 eleven WPA swimming pools opened in the city, giving New Yorkers sweet relief from the heat. The pools were feats of engineering for the time, plus each was architecturally distinct.”

You can see some of them here.

h/t: flashbak


c. 1960. NYC Parks Department Swimmobile.


1946. Flushing Meadows-Corona Park Pool.


1946. Betsy Head Pool.


Aug. 1, 1940. Red Hook Pool.


March 20, 1940. Betsy Head Pool.


Aug. 14, 1938. Red Hook Pool.


July 1938. Faber Park Pool.


July 12, 1937. McCarren Park, New York.


July 12, 1937. McCarren Park Pool.


July 12, 1937. McCarren Park Pool.


1936. Colonial Park Pool (now Jackie Robinson Park).


1936. Colonial Park Pool (now Jackie Robinson Park).


Aug. 20, 1936. Astoria Park Pool.


July 29, 1936. Astoria Park Pool.


July 1936. Thomas Jefferson Park Pool.


Aug. 20, 1936. Swimming contest, Astoria Park Pool, Hell Gate Bridge in background.

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