‘Floating pool’ to open in NYC river in 2025

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By Dan Sears

Who’s up for a dip in the East River? Or maybe the Hudson?

After more than a decade of fits and starts, a floating pool that’s shaped like a plus sign is headed for one of New York City’s waterways this summer — though it won’t be open to the public until 2025, assuming tests go well.

Once completed, the 30,000-square-foot pool, created by a crowdfunded company called +POOL, promises a chemical-free filtration system that takes in hundreds of thousands of gallons of river water and makes it more palatable to swimmers.

New York Gov. Kathy Hochul and Mayor Eric Adams made the announcement Friday.

They said a test version of the pool and its filtration system will be placed in a New York City waterway — exact location TBD — to ensure it meets state and city health guidelines. The state is pledging $12 million toward the effort, with the city chipping in another $4 million.

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“This was an invention that [makes it] possible to use our own waterways to find pools in communities who have historically been ignored,” Adams said at the Children’s Aid Dunlevy Milbank Community Center in Harlem.

The pool idea has been — ahem — floated in New York City for years.

The company, +POOL, launched a Kickstarter campaign back in 2013, raising more than $270,000 by promising to engrave donors’ names into tiles that will make up the pool and its deck.

Then there was a fancy PR campaign in 2018, backed by Heineken, the beer brand. It featured an eight-minute mini documentary on the history of the company and floating pools — narrated by none other than Neil Patrick Harris – and was paired with a petition at a now-defunct website, SwimInTheRiver.com.

In 2021, New York City gave a tentative green light to the project — known as a notice to proceed with due diligence — in the East River near Manhattan’s Two Bridges neighborhood, between the Brooklyn Bridge and Manhattan Bridge.

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But the exact location of the test facility or the final pool itself is now to be determined, according to the governor’s office. A press release from the mayor’s office didn’t specify a location either.

Hochul, meanwhile, seems ready to take the concept statewide.

The announcement Friday was part of a package of investments in swimming facilities, lifeguard training and learn-to-swim programs.

Hochul pledged to put up $60 million in state funding for competitive grants to deploy floating pools in waterways across the state.

“This is how you open up your rivers and waterways to the public,” she said.

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