Olympic-Sized pool begins ninth consecutive year moored off Barretto Point Park
Some 60 people flocked to Barretto Point Park on Wednesday, to take advantage of the summer opening of the Floating Pool Lady and find relief from the sun. It opened at 11 a.m., and quickly filled with families and children who swam in the 250-meter swimming pool that sits atop a barge moored in the East River.
Local resident Ramon Martinez, 35, said he is a regular at the pool every summer. When he checked the parks department’s website earlier in the week, he was excited to see that the pool was going to open so he could take his children and granddaughter for opening day. As he watched his granddaughter play in the children’s fountain at Barretto, he said he was glad the children could get some outdoor exercise despite the heat.
“The kids are out of school, they have all this free time so they can come out to the pool to get some exercise, and swimming is good for their health,” said Martinez.
The pool has been moored off Barretto Point Park every summer since 2008, with the Manhattan skyline serving as a dramatic backdrop.
On the deck, kids splashed about in the water and teens sunbathed. Marisabel Santiago, 14, who lives in Longwood, planned her visit to the pool days ago with her two friends from Hyde Leadership Charter High School. She said she prefers the pool to the beach.
“The beach is dirty,” she said “I like this place because its clean and it’s not too crowded.”
The pool feels like an oasis in Hunts Point. A 20-minute walk from the Hunts Point Avenue stop on the 6 train, the green grass and tree cover of Barretto Point Park are tucked away inconspicuously at the end of Viele Avenue, past junk yards, garbage trucks, and recycling plants. To help increase accessibility to the pool, the MTA runs the Bx46 bus to and from the park every half hour during the day, seven days a week.
Even so, access to the park and pool aren’t easy. Myrna Rosado, who lives on Macombs Road, said she comes because the pool is safe, clean, and free, but finds that getting there can be a challenge.
“It’s difficult for a lot of people to get here if they don’t have a car,” she said.
The pool includes a pool house, locker rooms, and a gangplank leading to and from the barge. Free swimming classes tailored to children with asthma are available, as are free breakfast and lunch for kids and adults, courtesy of the Department of Education.
The floating pool is open daily from 11 a.m.- 3 p.m., and again from 4- 7 p.m. after it’s cleaned.