Swimmers Beached After Chemical Issue at Central Park Pool; Could Be Closed for Days


Photo of people outside the pool by Laura Hanrahan.

By Hannah Reale

A large crowd of swimmers was turned away from Lasker Pool on Friday just as the temperature started to hit heat-wave levels. The pool, located near 110th Street & Lenox Avenue in Central Park, was supposed to be open for its third day of the summer, but an unexpected chemical problem left residents waiting in line outside.

Laura Hanrahan, who was among the people waiting, estimated that 300 people were outside at 11:20 a.m., when it was meant to open 20 minutes before. She said they weren’t getting any information about what was going on from the staff. “On the hottest day of the year, at the gem of Central Park, on the third day the pool is open, this is unacceptable,” she wrote.

The pool was closed to the public all day, and could be for the next few days.

NYC Parks’ Acting Assistant Commissioner of Communications Crystal Howard told the West Side Rag that the pool failed to open because of residue that gathered at the bottom from a water cleaning agent. The pool then had to be vacuumed in order to remove the residue. It is “not uncommon” for pools to be inconsistently open in their first few days as they get up and running, she said. She said that they are aiming to open Lasker in the coming days. She directed people to the following other pools.

When it’s operating, Lasker is open every day from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. until Labor Day for free public swimming, with a break from 3 p.m. to 4 p.m. for a cleaning. It is meant to have extended hours through 8 p.m. until Sunday due to high temperatures, but it is unclear if the pool will be open in the coming days. Food and electronic devices are not allowed by the pool, although lockers are available on site if visitors bring their own locks. Lifeguards are present at all times.

“Early bird” and “night owl” adult swim hours will be available from 7:00 a.m. to 8:30 a.m. and 7:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Monday through Friday from July 5 to August 31, although swimmers must register in advance to participate. Children, tots, and adults can also learn to swim at Lasker for free and must register online to select specific dates for the course.

Lasker also transforms into an ice rink during the winter months.

NEWS, OUTDOORS | 4 comments | permalink
    1. Amy says:

      Will you know when issue at Lasker Pool is remedied and the pool has opened so you can post it?
      I was at Lasker Wednesday & yesterday because @NYCParks & Lasker website https://www.nycgovparks.org/parks/M010/facilities/outdoor-pools/lasker-pool
      have not shared any information with the public, except when they announce it’s not opening after 1 hour+ waiting in line in sweltering heat. Thank you

    2. Kathleen says:

      On the hottest day of the year, at the gem of Central Park, on the third day the pool is open, this is unacceptable,” she wrote.

      How ridiculous, as if the pool was being closed for no reason. Things happen, get over yourself.

    3. Kathleen Treat says:

      “Swimmers must register in advance to participate’? Why?
      So – according to this the pool was to open on Thursday, June 28th. Why wasn’t Parks on top of this and why didn’t they take care of the chemical issue
      a week earlier? This is just so lame….so not what we
      expect from our City. Two playground sprinklers were out on the West Side. Why? Broke or poor management?

    4. sethers says:

      i get a kick out of people using the word ‘unacceptable’ when they mean ‘bad’. Imagine if we responded literally.

      ‘Good point Laura, I agree that it’s unacceptable, you should scale that huge fence and just jump in, chemical contamination be damned’ 🙂