New funding comes via City’s Anchor Parks initiative
Summer fully and truly came to New York City last week as the season’s first major heat wave reached the East Coast. Temperatures bordered on 100 degrees early in the week, with temperatures remaining in the 90s well into the night.
The city issued a heat advisory for Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday, and also asked that individuals try to limit their energy usage to prevent blackouts.
So besides air conditioning, what can Brooklyn and Queens residents do to beat the heat?
Answer: go to one of the boroughs’ many public pools.
A great number of city parks feature pools that are free and open to the public. However, there are a few things that you should keep in mind before heading to one of these outdoor oases.
All pools in New York City parks are open every day from 11 a.m. through 7 p.m., with a break for pool cleaning between 3 and 5 p.m.
Visitors are encouraged to bring a combination lock along with them if they hope to store their valuables in one of the provided lockers. Storage lockers are free, but fill up quickly on a first-come, first-serve basis.
The Parks Department also asks that visitors limit the amount of wrapped food, paper, and other potential litter that they bring with them to the pool.
Most importantly, bathing suits are required. This means that on-duty lifeguards will not allow plain-clothed individuals to enter the water. Nude swimming is also prohibited…for obvious reasons.
Throughout the summer, the city also offers free swimming lessons for people of all ages. This includes classes for toddlers (1 1/2 to 5 years old), children (6 to 17 years old), and adults (18 years old or older).
Some pools provide additional classes that focus on specific swimming techniques, so be sure to check out the Parks Department website to see what your local park is offering.
Brooklyn parks with pools include Betsy Head Park (Brownsville), Bushwick Playground (Bushwick), Commodore Barry Park (Downtown Brooklyn), Fox Playgrounds (Canarsie), Thomas Greene Playground (Gowanus), Gleenwood Playground (Canarsie), Howard Playground (Brownsville), Kosciusko Pool (Clinton Hill), Lindower Park (Mill Basin), McCarren Park (Greenpoint), Red Hook Pool (Red Hook), Sunset Park Pool (Sunset Park).
Queens parks with pools include Astoria Park (Astoria), Fisher Park (Flushing), Fort Totten Park (Bay Terrace), Detective Keith L Williams Park (Jamaica), Marie Curie Playground (Bayside), Lawrence Virgilio Playground (Sunnyside).
Local artists Sherwin Banfield and Haksul Lee each receive $5,000 grants to create temporary art installations in Flushing Meadows Corona Park.
“In addition to supporting Queens-based artists, we look forward to activating the park with new artworks as we emerge from the pandemic,” said Elizabeth Masella of the Parks Department. “Both artists’ work highlights eco-friendly technology like solar and wind power, while honoring the park’s past, present, and future.”
The “Going Back to The Meadows: A Tribute to Queens Hip Hop Legend LL Cool J” and “Performance at FMCP” by Banfield will be located at David Dinkins Circle near the boardwalk ramp entrance to the park from the 7 train at Willets Point.
Banfield describes it as “a sculptural sonic performance artwork that evokes the feeling of Flushing Meadows Corona Park as an event space, channeled through the sonic frequency and artistry of Queens hip-hop legend LL Cool J.”
Banfield’s recent exhibitions include sculptures for the Queens Central Library, Marine Air Terminal at LaGuardia Airport, Socrates Sculpture Park, and the Factory LIC Gallery.
“The Giving Tree” by Lee will be located on the lawn bounded by Herbert Hoover Promenade, United Nations Avenue North, and Avenue of the Americas.
Lee describes it as taking the form of a tree, “to bring awareness of the environmental concerns in the Queens community.”
The main structure will be made of recycled materials collected locally. The top of the sculpture will function as a wind turbine to power a charging station in the tree’s trunk.
Lee’s work was recently exhibited in The Immigrant Artists Biennial, at the Korean Embassy in Beijing, and the Phyllis Harriman Gallery.
“The grant is intended to help transform these selected sites into art destinations through a series of rotating exhibitions with supporting events and programs,” said Alliance for FMCP executive director Janice Melnick.