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Gym Belle  - noun  one who enjoys pull-ups, push-ups, lifting things up/putting 'em down, PRs of all kinds, racing, jumping, spinning, daring and blogging re same (more here)


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The Pool

"You really swam in the pool in Central Park?" Yes. Yes, I did.

Here's the scoop. After rollerblading at Summer Streets during Day 1 of the heat wave, my friend and I were desperate to find a pool. I've noticed Lasker Pool on my loop runs in the park, and we decided it was worth a shot.

In order to get in, you have to be wearing a bathing suit and you have to bring a lock for the locker room. These are non-negotiable rules and I don't recommend debating the, um, bouncers. The pool is open from 11-3 and then from 4-7. We got there around 2 and went right in.

The 3-4 break is no joke. Just before 3, everyone had to get out of the pool, empty their lockers and leave the premises. Seriously. People started lining up for re-entry right away. I have no idea if this means that there are normally lines to get in.  It may be that my friend and lucked out because we got there so close to the break.  (Anyone?)

The pool is huge. There were a ton of people there that day, but there really was room for everyone. A few lanes in the middle of the pool were set aside for laps, but mostly it was open for playing. (There was also a separate shallow pool for babies.) We laid our towels out on the concrete steps and jumped in. Ok, my friend jumped. I eased in. It felt soooooo good. We splashed around until we had to get out for the 3 o'clock break. It would have been nice to have more time, but I can't imagine that lying out on concrete is all that pleasant anyway.

If you want to swim - by which I mean actually get in the water and splash around with your friends - outside in NYC, I totally recommend checking out Lasker. The pool seemed perfectly clean to me. I didn't notice super high levels of chlorine or anything - but, to be honest, I'm kinda sick of having my bathing suits change color on me, anyway, so I'm ok with that. If you're looking for a place to lay out, I say stick with Sheep's Meadow, or your roof, or wherever. (Or splurge on one of the hotel rooftop day passes.)

Don't expect any frills. Aside from a few, mostly out of order, vending machines, there's no place to get food or drinks. Also, if you're the squeamish type, you probably won't like the locker rooms. They're public pool locker rooms in NYC, though, so what can you expect?

The pool closes after Labor Day, so I may not get another chance to check it out this year.  If I do, I'll keep you posted.

-Gym Belle-

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Reader Comments (1)

I've often ran past the Lasker Pool, looked down with a little envy and a little fear, at the little pool of heaven. I would have never had the guts to actually check it out, had it not been for your review. Thanks Gym Belle!! But, today, armed with courage, and a longing for water, I braved it, and it couldn't have been better. The grounds were clean (entrance, changerooms, and even the bottom of the pool), and the staff was friendly. I swam in the lap lane which was great, except for the insecurity induced by some hardcore guy who was lapping me.

Gym Belle, there is actually a cafeteria inside! Right next to the women's change-room. I'm not sure exactly what they serve, but there was definitely some pool-side food available. Perhaps this only happens on weekdays?

All in all, a fab, free way to hang in a pool!

August 26, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterGymBelle_Fan

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