Astoria Park


Wednesday, July 6, 2005
No. 58

Astoria Park in Queens is July’s Park of the Month. This 65-acre stretch of athletic paradise in Queens offers astounding views from its perch on the East River. The Triborough Bridge soars over its southern end, while the Hell Gate Bridge spans the north. Dozens of benches hugging the park’s perimeter offer perfect spots to take in views of the bridges, boat activity, and New York City skyline.

"Astoria Park is the perfect spot to discover during the summer months," said Parks & Recreation Commissioner Adrian Benepe. "The East River provides spectacular views and cool breezes; the public pool is one of the country’s oldest and grandest; and the possibilities for athletic and recreational endeavors are endless."

Though it’s best known for its pool, Astoria Park boasts several first-rate athletic facilities, all of which offer extraordinary programs to the public. The outdoor tennis courts host free Pee Wee lessons on Tuesdays and Thursdays during the summer, and track programs for children and early teens take place on Monday and Wednesdays.

Astoria Pool is the city’s largest, oldest, and arguably its most storied. It was opened to the public on July 4, 1936, as part of Parks Commissioner Robert Moses’s campaign to open 11 new pools that summer with the help of the Works Progress Administration (WPA). Astoria was the first to be built, and served as a model for those to follow. The pool hosted the Olympic trials for swimming and diving in both 1936 and 1964. The two fountains located on the east end of the pool (which now spray water 25 feet in the air) served as Olympic torches during that time.

Today, the pool fosters athletic excellence by hosting a full roster of Learn to Swim programs. It (along with all 33 outdoor intermediate and Olympic-sized pools) offers free swimming instruction to toddlers and children, and team training for the kids’ five-borough championship. Each morning from 7:00 to 8:30, the outdoor pool is open for adult lap swim only, giving adults the chance to take to the water for health and fitness without interruption from other swimmers.

The pool even holds a Special Populations swimming program for senior citizens and physically challenged individuals. Each Monday, Wednesday, and Friday from July 6 through August 12, the facility is reserved from 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. for this enriching program. Co-sponsored by Catholic Charities and Queens Community Board 1, the program offers water exercise classes, swim instruction, water ballet, and other special activities.

Visitors to Astoria Park will also find playgrounds, basketball courts, an athletic field, three baseball diamonds, numerous trails, a wading pool, and a bandstand.

Park of the Month introduces some of our greatest parks and greenspaces to curious New Yorkers and visitors alike. A link to this month’s highlighted park is available on Parks’ website,, and the dedicated page includes panoramic and still photos, an interactive map, historical and press information, as well as links to capital projects and inspections.


Directions to Astoria Park

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