Van Cortlandt Park

The Daily Plant : Monday, July 2, 2007

City Pools Make A Splash

Photo by Daniel Avila

Last Friday, Commissioner Adrian Benepe and children from local recreation centers kicked off the opening of citywide outdoor pools at Van Cortlandt Pool in the Bronx. Fifty-two outdoor pools in the City are currently open to the public through Labor Day. The daily hours of operation are 11:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m., seven days a week.

Following the speaking program of the press announcement, Commissioner Benepe and young swimmers jumped into the pool to kick-off the beginning of the summer’s outdoor pool season. Western Beef with Chef Albert and his staff from the Art Institute of New York City cooked up a free barbecue lunch and Snapple provided complimentary beverages. The pool opening festivities were capped off by entertainment courtesy of radio station WKTU 103.5. Tropical Beat Steel Drum Band also provided live music. New York City lifeguards were on hand, and Parks & Recreation staff reminded children of important water safety tips.

“A cool pool is the best place to beat the heat,” said Commissioner Benepe. “Swimming is a great form of recreation, but for many it is also a survival skill, a competitive sport, and a lifetime passport to health and fitness. We hope New Yorkers will take advantage of the City’s 52 free outdoor pools as well as Parks’ free youth Learn to Swim and adult Lap Swim programs, which focus on basic swim instruction and ways to stay fit. As always, please remember to follow pool rules, listen to lifeguards, know your swimming limits, and most of all, have fun!”

Parks & Recreation’s annual Learn to Swim program, held at selected pool locations Citywide, offers toddlers and children ages one-and-a-half to 14 free swim instruction. Learn to Swim is made possible by Parks’ partnerships with the City Parks Foundation and the American Red Cross. This summer, three three-week sessions will be held from July 6 to August 31. Youth swimmers ages 6 to 18 may also join a swim team at any one of the City’s 33 intermediate and Olympic-sized pools starting July 1 and train for competition in the City’s Eighth Annual Five-Borough Championship swimming competition to be held on August 11.

For adults, Parks offers, for the 25th year, a free Lap Swim program, which designates “Early Bird” lap swim hours from 7:00 a.m. to 8:30 a.m. and “Night Owl” lap-swim hours from 7:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at selected pool locations Citywide, allowing for uninterrupted swimming that focuses on health and fitness. Participants who swim 25 miles or more over the summer will receive a free tee-shirt and distance prizes will also be awarded.

For more than 35 years, Van Cortlandt Pool, located in the southwest corner of Van Cortlandt Park, has been serving children from nearby Bronx neighborhoods and the City’s numerous summer camps. The pool is a large intermediate-size pool at 3½ feet deep, 164 feet long, and 104 feet wide. The pool opened to the public on August 21, 1970. Designed by the firm of Heery and Heery, Van Cortlandt Pool was the largest of a series of system-designed and built pools that the City purchased at this time. Construction began in early 1969 and was completed at a cost of $1.6 million. The aquatic complex spans approximately four acres and includes two pools (the diving pool closed in 1979), a concession area, a sundeck, bathhouses, dressing rooms, lockers, a first aid room, and restrooms.

Along with our 52 outdoor pools, New York City is also home to 11 indoor pools housed in recreation centers, and 14 miles of public beaches, which are open from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. until Labor Day. For more information on swimming opportunities in New York City, visit


“Someone’s boring me. I think it’s me.”

Dylan Thomas
(1914 – 1953)

Directions to Van Cortlandt Park

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