‘Floating pool’ to open in New York City river by 2025

As the sultry breezes of summer 2024 waft through the bustling streets of New York City, a beacon of refreshment and aquatic jubilation prepares to make its grand debut. Nestled amidst the urban embrace of concrete and skyscrapers, a vast expanse of water, spanning 2,000 square feet (186 m^2), promises to beckon the city's swim aficionados to plunge into an unprecedented swimming odyssey—right within the city's very own aquatic frontiers.

The quest for the perfect location remains shrouded in anticipation, as the ultimate choice oscillates among the city's rivers and bays—territories once deemed forbidden to the casual swimmer. Fast forward to 2025, and the visionaries behind this aquatic marvel aim to dismantle these barriers, ushering in an era where New Yorkers, much like their counterparts in the illustrious waterways of London and Amsterdam, can immerse themselves in the cooling embrace of their urban waters, safely and joyously.

Rewinding the clock to the dawn of the 20th century, the Hudson and East Rivers were once adorned with 15 floating bastions of leisure, known as “river pools.” These sanctuaries of swim provided a respite from the sweltering city heat, until the unforgiving march of environmental degradation rendered these waters unsuitable for safe human engagement. By the 1920s, the dreams of hygienic, open-water swimming dissipated into the murky depths.

Photo: +POOL

Enter the era of "+POOL," an audacious endeavor, buoyed by a $16 million infusion from state and city coffers. This isn't merely an infrastructure project; it's a declaration of aquatic innovation, poised to mark a technological renaissance in the United States with roots stretching back through the annals of time. At its core, a revolutionary filtration system, devoid of chemical reliance, aims to purify over a million gallons of raw river water daily, mimicking the finesse of a colossal strainer. This, paired with the vigilant oversight of Environmental Protection Agency water quality software, ensures that the waters of +POOL meet the stringent microbiological standards required for a safe and enjoyable swimming experience.

Kara Meyer, the visionary helming Friends of +POOL, articulates a future where New Yorkers reclaim their natural aquatic heritage, not just as bystanders but as active participants in the environmental narrative. "+POOL doesn't just offer a swim; it weaves the city's populace back into the fabric of the natural world, enabling a harmonious coexistence that transcends mere recreation.

This isn't merely a swimming pool; it's a mosaic of possibilities—a lap pool, a lounge pool, a sports pool, each a piece of a larger puzzle that can be reconfigured into an Olympic-sized marvel, responding to the varied cravings of the city's diverse swimming populace.

In an ironic twist, the very advancements in wastewater management and sewage treatment that heralded an environmental rebirth for New York Harbor now underpin the bold assertion that the harbor is basking in its cleanest state in a century. Amidst this backdrop of ecological resurgence, +POOL stands as a testament to New York City's enduring spirit of innovation, a symbol of how far we've come and the boundless possibilities that lie ahead in our quest to reconnect with the natural world.