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This Olympic-size swimming pool and bathhouse complex opened on July 24, 1936. It was one of ten dedicated that year by Parks Commissioner Robert Moses (1888-1981). The project, funded by a special Works Progress Administration (WPA) grant of $10 million, featured a 925,000 gallon swimming pool, 39,000 gallon wading pool, 450,000 gallon diving pool and a bathhouse. The latter was designed by noted architect Aymar Embury II (1880-1966), and is an art deco interpretation of a French castle.
The building of Crotona Pool provided many jobs for the unemployed and was intended by Moses to provide an alternative to the "unsanitary conditions which… render the boundary waters of Greater New York unfit for bathing." The demand for sanitary bathing for New York residents was apparent. The Hudson and East Rivers, both popular bathing spots since the colonial era, had become so polluted by the early 20th century, that health officials regularly warned of the risks of typhoid fever after even the briefest of dips. In 1910, 600 million gallons per day of untreated waste was being discharged from New York City into the surrounding waters.
Crotona Pool was restored as part of the Parks capital restoration program for pools, begun in 1977. The pool was closed and renovated, for a cost of $6 million in the early 1980s and was reopened by Mayor Edward I. Koch and Commissioner Stern on August 1, 1984. Today, Crotona Pool is the largest in the Bronx and the fourth largest in the city, at 330 feet long and 120 feet wide. Swimming is free and the season runs from Independence Day through Labor Day. Weekly attendance during the season averages nearly 5,000 adults and children. During the winter the building is the site of a popular after-school program run by the Phipps Community Development Corporation.
For more than one hundred years, the 127.5 acre Crotona Park has been one of the most important public parks in the Bronx, a sanctuary of rolling grass, lofty trees, baseball diamonds, a pool, and a peaceful lake.
The City of New York acquired the property for this park from Andrew Bathgate as part of the consolidation of the Bronx park system in 1888. Known at the time as Bathgate Woods, the park was already famous for its views, its trees, and its pond. From high points in the park one could see the Palisades of New Jersey to the west and the towers of Brooklyn Bridge to the south. Although the city planned to name the park for the Bathgates, a dispute with the family led a Parks Department engineer to name it after Croton, an ancient Greek colony famed for its Olympic athletes. Croton is also the name of the old New York City aqueduct.
Directions to Crotona Park
Know Before You Go
Crotona Park Nature Center
The Crotona Park Nature Center is currently closed, with no public access.
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