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PR- 245-05
June 24, 2005


Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg today kicked off the opening of New York City’s outdoor pools at Thomas Jefferson Pool on 112th Street and First Avenue in Manhattan. The Mayor was joined by Parks & Recreation Commissioner Adrian Benepe, Director of Physical Education and Fitness for the Department of Education (DOE) Lori Benson, and children from Parks’ Recreation Centers.  All of the City’s 52 outdoor pools will open Saturday and be open from 11:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m., seven days a week, through September 5. 

“The City’s 52 outdoor pools and 14 miles of beaches are perfect places for New Yorkers to cool off during the summer heat,” said Mayor Bloomberg. “Our beaches and pools are free and open to the public 7 days a week, and I urge all New Yorkers to visit them and swim safely.”

“All the City’s 52 outdoor pools are open seven days a week, free of charge,” said Commissioner Benepe.  “They are the best way to beat the heat in a safe environment, overseen by a cadre of trained lifeguards and maintenance and security staff, including PEP officers and the NYPD. To ensure a safe summer swimming season, we remind all swimmers to follow the rules, listen to lifeguards, know their limits, and, most of all, have fun. We also hope that New Yorkers will take advantage of our free learn-to-swim programs and our morning and evening adult lap swim hours.”

The Mayor also announced the Department of Education’s commitment to teaching water safety to City school children as part of their unprecedented effort to improve physical education for students.  In partnership with Parks & Recreation, starting this Fall, DOE will bring second and third grade students to Parks “Learn to Swim” sites for ten-week swimming clinics.  In addition to the weekly aquatic instruction, students will receive free annual memberships to Parks’ Recreation Centers.

“There is a renaissance underway of fitness and physical education in our public schools,” said Lori Benson, Director of Physical Education and Fitness for the Department of Education. “Next fall, in partnership with the Parks Department, we will expand our efforts to launch a first of its kind initiative to teach New York City schoolchildren to swim.  We want each of our students to develop a healthy and active lifestyle, and this program brings us one step closer to that goal.” 

Parks & Recreation this year has also expanded its summer “Learn to Swim” program to all intermediate and Olympic-sized outdoor pools. Two three-week “Learn to Swim” sessions and one five-week session are available to toddlers and children this summer, thanks to partnerships with the City Parks Foundation and the American Red Cross.  Additionally, free lessons are offered at all 11 indoor pools year-round.  Outdoor pools also host a free lap-swim program for adults, allowing for uninterrupted swimming that focuses on health and fitness.

The pool opening ceremonies carried a luau theme, complete with a free cookout provided by Western Beef and drinks from Snapple.  Entertainment was provided by radio station 103.5 KTU. Several New York City lifeguards were on hand, and Parks & Recreation staff reminded children of important water safety rules.

For more information on locations, activities, and free swimming lessons, visit New York City is also home to 11 indoor pools, and 14 miles of public beaches, which are open from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. until Labor Day.

“Swimming can be a fun, healthy form of exercise, but it can also be dangerous in certain situations,” concluded Mayor Bloomberg. “Always try to swim with a companion, watch children at all times, and never go in the water when lifeguards are off duty.”


Edward Skyler / Robert Lawson   (212) 788-2958


Warner Johnston   (Parks)
(212) 360-1311

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