There was a point this summer where I thought I would go batty because all of a sudden, I really NEEDED to be in the water. Manhattan (I know, it’s an island) makes me feel mega-landlocked, and if I spend the entire summer here with a peak of nature, I go start to get twitchy and feel trapped. It’s like when I shop at Banana Republic and I see like corporate blouses with bows and corporate jewelry, like necklaces of brass-colored knots — this is the cr*p that I’m supposed to be wear to work, and I feel like I’m suffocating. (I know, a tad melodramatic, but brass-colored knots? Bleech. It’s like costumes for “Falcon Crest.”)
So once I was nearing Empty on my tolerance gauge, I went ga-ga with weekend trips. Went to Fire Island twice, walked on the beach, dove under waves, avoided the drunken naked volley ball games (I was at the Pines/Cherry Grove. They just looooove being naked, which is fine by me, but naked while playing a sport? Seems like you’re asking for trouble, no?)
But the most awesome water discovery this past summer was the Sunset Park Public Pool! I had no idea the city had public pools. I followed my friend Joslyn, who was like nine months pregnant at the time (child is out and about now) and always knows where she’s going (I went to Paris with her a few years ago and she just towed me around while I wondered what was happening. I’m direction-retarded.)
The pool was gorgeous! The size of a football field with like Art-Deco building details! There was no line! Robert Moses built the pools during the Great Depression, so all the unemployed people had an escapist, free option. Apparently, he’s a douche bag in other respects. (He was convinced the future of the city was the car, even though he didn’t drive, and built all these superhighways throughout the city that facilitated white flight and divided rich and poor. Mrs. Murphy said there’s a neighborhood in the Bronx that’s literally the haves on one side of the highway and the have-nots on the other. See? Douche-baggy move.)
But the pools are special. Kids and families come, adults get their lap lanes. It’s free and there’s NO LINE! When we went, there were like 20 free lanes for adults.
One note: When it came to closing time, they really hustle you out of there, and the women’s locker room is all green aluminum and open. The staff like is blowing whistles and screaming “closing time! closing time!” while all the water-soaked ladies try to get changed quickly and scoot out of there. That part made us feel like we were in a ladies prison. Tee hee.