New York City is set to open the first urban river-sourced swimming facility in the United States in 2024. Governor Hochul has announced a partnership with the nonprofit Friends of + POOL to bring this innovative project to life.
The + POOL initiative, founded in 2010 by four visionary designers, aims to provide New Yorkers with free and safe river swimming. The state will invest $16 million to pilot and scale the system, potentially expanding it across New York.
This groundbreaking 2,000-square-foot plus-shaped swimming pool floating in the East River features a unique filtration system that cleans over 1,000,000 gallons of water daily without chemicals. The design has received approval from the United States Environmental Protection Agency (US EPA) for meeting microbiological safety standards.
Friends of + POOL has patented this game-changing design and advocates for establishing regulations and safe river swimming access. This summer, a public demonstration will provide essential data for permitting and final installation.
This project revitalizes New York’s waterways, bringing them back to the public and fostering community connections. Public pools, once cherished facilities, have dwindled, but + POOL aims to bring them back, providing respite from extreme heat and promoting healthier and more connected urban living.
In the words of Friends of + POOL Managing Director Kara Meyer, “+ POOL reclaims New York’s natural resources, restores the utility of our waterways, and enables people to coexist with nature.”
Other cities worldwide are also exploring innovative waterfront pool initiatives, reflecting a growing interest in reconnecting urban populations with natural environments. From Paris to Portugal and Denmark to Germany, the trend is rising, promising a brighter, cooler future for urban residents.
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