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Future Astoria Pool Performance Center

Astoria Pool

The Astoria Pool Olympic High Dive of the future Astoria Performance Center has been selected as one of 40 projects eligible for a “Partners in Preservation” grant from the National Trust for Historic Preservation and American Express. The Partners in Preservation program seeks to increase the public’s awareness of the importance of historic preservation in the United States and to preserve America’s historic and cultural places.

The diving platform, built in 1936 by Robert Moses, will form the centerpiece of a new music and arts performance center to be constructed on the site of the old diving pool in Astoria Park, which has been in disuse for several decades.

Vote Now!

From April 26, to May 21, 2012, anyone 13 years of age and older can visit the Partners in Preservation website or Facebook page to vote for the project of their choice. The 3 projects with the most popular votes wins a full grant to complete restoration.

So please help us win this valuable grant and vote for the future Astoria Pool Performance Center!

To receive updates about the Astoria Pool Performance Center project and the Partners in Preservation competition, sign up for our mailing list.

Remember: you can vote once a day, so remind yourself to vote early and often!

Why You Should Vote

Why did you vote for the Astoria Pool Olympic High Dive and future Performance Center?

About Astoria Pool

Astoria Pool and Play Center is one of ten New York City Parks pools that opened in the summer of 1936. It was built with both labor and funding from the Works Progress Administration. Located in the sixty-acre Astoria Park in Queens, its setting commands spectacular views of the Manhattan skyline and the Hell’s Gate and Robert F. Kennedy Bridges. At 330 feet in length, it is the largest pool in New York City and one of the largest and most popular swimming facilities in the country.

Restoring the Diving Platform

With its streamlined and simple forms, decorative glass block, deco-style steel railings, and Art Moderne style ticket booth, Astoria Pool is one of the most architecturally remarkable public recreational facilities in the country. The 32-foot high sculptural Olympic High Dive is the visual centerpiece of the pool deck and is the subject of this grant proposal.

The New Astoria Park

Due to health code requirements, Astoria’s diving pool is no longer able to support its original use. The proposed adaptive reuse of the the diving tank into a performance space will address a consistent community request to return people to this important facility.

The grant proposal seeks to restore the Olympic High Dive as a centerpiece of the new modern Astoria Park. The grant will enhance the existing pool functions and improve the future performance area.

Learn more about the past, present, and future of Astoria Pool.

History of Astoria Pool

Astoria Pool diving board historical photo

For more than 70 years, Astoria Pool has been one of the largest and most popular swimming facilities in the country. Astoria Pool was one of eleven pools built in the city in 1936 through labor and construction funding from the federal Works Progress Administration, under the guidance of swimming aficionado and New York City Parks Commissioner Robert Moses. At 54,450 square feet, the main pool at Astoria Pool was (and remains) the largest swimming pool in New York City.

Open July 4, 1936, the swimming and diving pools were an immediate smash. That day, trials were held for the United States Swim and Diving teams. Each summer, thousands of New Yorkers flocked to Astoria Park to cool off and exercise. In the early years, it would cost 20 cents to swim in Astoria Pool (and 10 cents for children on weekends). Today, Astoria Pool and all of New York’s outdoor pools are free and open to the public.

Astoria Pool was designated a New York City Landmark in 2006. Unfortunately, after being closed for decades, the Astoria Diving Pool has fallen into disrepair. No longer up to code as a diving pool, we are now looking to restore it as a year-round Performance Center.

Learn more about the history of Astoria Pool.

Current Day Astoria Pool

Astoria Pool diving board current day

Nestled against the East River and between the RFK and Hell’s Gate bridges, Astoria Pool is a majestic summer destination for fitness and swimming. As New York City’s largest outdoor pool, Astoria Pool comes alive with thousands of children and adults playing in its waters every day.

During the summer, Astoria Pool is home to a wide range of aquatic programming for all ages and levels. For those who are just getting started, the free Learn to Swim program offers basic swimming skills for toddlers, children, and adults. Learn to Swim teaches basic swim safety skills to thousands of New Yorkers each year, teaching them to avoid drowning and stay safe in the water.  More experienced swimmers can join the Outdoor Lap Swim program. Early birds and Night owls can come to the pool to swim laps and compete for prizes and recognition for distance swimming.

This year, Astoria Pool will also be home to events celebrating its new life as a year-round performance facility. Visit our Events Calendar to learn more.

Future Plans for a Performance Center

Preliminary Concept Sketch of the Astoria Park Performance Center
Click on the image to view larger

With each passing decade, Astoria becomes an ever greater center of cultural life in New York City. We are excited for the opportunity to build a year-round performance center, to make Astoria Pool a center for art, music, and theater, and to help draw Astoria residents and visitors to the waterfront.

Astoria’s diving pool is no longer able to support its original intended use. However, we are planning to convert the diving tank into a stage, turning the stands into an amphitheater. Funding for this project has already been allocated by New York City Council Member Peter Vallone, Jr.

The diving platform will become the centerpiece of this exciting new facility, lending a surprising and unique perspective to outdoor performances in the venue. The streamlined form, height and integrated access ladders are ideal for adaptive reuse as a sculptural theater tower. In addition, its architectural significance makes the diving platform an ideal candidate for preservation.

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