On last Saturday (August 7), the New York City closed down Park Avenue to cars so that people could spread out to bike, walk, play, watch live theater, and swim in three makeshift swimming pools made from repurposed garbage dumpsters. This event was a part of its third annual Summer Streets program.
On Saturday, 420 swimmers took a dip in one of the three pools located near the Grand Central viaduct on Park Avenue between 40th and 41st Streets. The pools will be open for the next two Saturdays (August 14 and 21) from 7 a.m. until 1 p.m. The city is distributing bracelets on a first-come first-serve basis so swimmers can enter in shifts.
Only 10 people can swim comfortably in a pool at a time. Each 8-by-22 foot dumpster pool is surrounded by a wrap-around deck and has its own built-in water filtration system. Each unused dumpster has been equipped with a layer of felt (so it's soft to stand on) and pool lining liners before being filled with around 4,600 gallons of chlorinated water and weighs approximately 50,000 pounds.
The pools' designer, David Belt, whose firm Macro Sea created its first dumpster pool in Brooklyn last year, thinks the idea of people swimming in dumpsters in front of Grand Central is hilarious. It also has the potential to reduce the pretentiousness of Park Avenue, he says, but his goals are broader.
Belt says these code-compliant portable pools can be used in any city. "I think it would be so great if different municipalities that couldn't afford to build a whole park could set up these pop-up pools." They're relatively inexpensive and easy to transport so a city could move pools around to different neighborhoods.
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