With the COVID-19 infection rates at an all-time low in the Big Apple, New Yorkers are finally able to enjoy their first summer since 2019.
Despite Mayor Bill de Blasio’s warning of the record-breaking temperatures sizzling the city, New Yorkers are attempting to beat the heat by jumping headfirst into the freshly opened pools. New York City’s outdoor public swimming pools reopened on June 26, and after nearly 16 months of facing restrictions thanks to the novel coronavirus, families are happy to be making a splash back together.
Pools run by the New York City Parks Department, such as like Asser Levy Pool at 390 Asser Levy Place, are seeing a tidal wave of swimmers cannonballing, backstroking, and snorkeling. While for many heading out to the local pool is a means of cooling off. For others, it is about regaining some normalcy — especially for parents.
“I’m feeling grateful to be out. The kids were home all the time studying and remote learning, so it’s been difficult to break them out of the routine of staying home and getting them outside,” DJ Truth said as he watched his 10-year-old son perform a backstroke in the water.
Shizuka Kikuchi is no different and wants to ensure that her daughter has a fun summer. So, although several of her friends are in summer camp, the family created their own impromptu days of fun while school is out. Since June 26, Kikuchi has brought her daughter to the Asser Levy pool to cool off and splash around.
“It was disappointing during the pandemic to not be able to enjoy activities, but obviously it was understandable why,” Kikuchi said, adding “My eldest daughter was a part of the Asser Levy swimming team with synchronized swimming, and when the pandemic came everything ended and it made her really sad.”
With life beginning to regain the regularity of years gone by, Kikuchi says nothing beats spending time with her family at their local pool.
Donning flip-flops, swim trunks, and swim goggles, 8-year-old Milo was ready for a day of fun with his dad, Daniel Wapner and mother, Yuko.
“I like jumping in the pool and swimming,” Milo said as he was dripping with water.
Yuko agreed, comparing the hot summer weather to sitting in a concrete frying pan. Despite the heat, both parents shared that it’s a wonderful family experience to be together enjoying the public pool.
His father nodded in agreement.
“I really enjoyed the pool, the water was the perfect temperature, and it wasn’t too crowded. I get to throw my kid around in the water, something we can’t do in the apartment because it’s a little too small for that,” he said.
For Ebony Rolle, the pools opening meant that she would finally have moments of relaxation with her two children instead of being trapped at home. June 30 was the first day she decided to give her local public pool a chance for her children to release months of pent-up energy.
“It’s amazing! It’s good to be out, my children were running amok in the house, and they just love water so it’s great to be in the pool,” Rolle said.
With COVID-19 still weighing on their minds, parents shared that they were pleased with the cleanliness of the pool and the maintaining of social distancing between people.
“It’s nice to be outside in the open air letting the kids be kids and we are exactly where we should be. It was great! I think that everything has followed the standards and nobody is like on top of each other and we are just having a good time in the summer,” Erica B. said while playing with her 2-year-old daughter in the shallow children’s pool.