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A New Floating Pool is Coming to East River, New York, in Summer 2025

State Governor Kathy Hochul has pledged $16 million towards the 9,500 sqft floating pool. 

The pool will be open from 10am-7pm between May and September. Credit: +Pool.

East River, the saltwater estuary dividing Long Island and Upper New York Bay, will soon boast a new accessory. In her third State of the State address, Governor Hochul unveiled her $60 million NY SWIMS scheme. Its pièce de résistance? A plus-shaped public swimming pool, set afloat on the Big Apple’s banks. 

‘I’m pleased to announce that Mayor Adams and I are joining forces to advance a long-stalled, much debated, but it’s an innovative floating pool concept, right over there,’ Hochul exalted. ‘It’s called +Pool, and it’ll allow New Yorkers to swim in clean, filtered water right under the city’s skyline.’ 

New York State will contribute $12 million to the project; New York City will devote $4 million. 

The lido’s distinctive plus-shape splits off into four sections, catering for kids’ playtime, watersports and length swimming all at once. Combined, its area totals 9,500 sqft. That’s nearly an Olympic-sized pool. 

The new leisure hub will have a maximum capacity of 300 swimmers.
The new leisure hub will have a maximum capacity of 300 swimmers. Credit: +Pool.

+Pool compares their design to a ‘giant strainer’ – capable of filtering out bacteria, pollutants and bad smells through its permeable walls. When finished, the floating structure will clean 600,000 gallons of East River water daily.  

The NGO has been campaigning for ‘free and safe access to rivers for swimming in NYC’ since 2011. To realize their vision, they have worked with scientists at Columbia University’s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory and naval architects at Persak and Wurmfeld. Last year, +Pool researchers spent six weeks experimenting with filtration models on an East River pier. 

East River was once a popular paddling spot. By early 1900, running about in its muddy shores was made unthinkable by industrial pollutants. 

Asked about swimming in today’s East River, one New Yorker laughed, ‘You would have to give me your first-born child for me to step into that thing.’ In several X posts, ‘go swim in the East River’ is used as an insult. 

+Pool will hold up to 285,500 gallons of water within its walls.
+Pool will hold up to 285,500 gallons of water within its walls. Credit: +Pool.

‘Access to swimming isn’t just about recreation – it’s about public health and climate resiliency,’ claims Governor Hochul. ‘NY SWIMS will be the largest statewide investment in swimming since the New Deal, expanding access for underserved communities and improving safety for kids across New York.’ 

Drowning is, according to CDC Statistics, the number one cause of death for children aged 1-4 in the US.  

+Pool’s Bluefish program (est. 2016) provides comprehensive swimming courses for underprivileged kids, even sending students home with specially designed swimsuits, caps, goggles and towels. Upon finishing their course, students are asked to sign their name on a +Pool tile. These tiles will all be featured in the final +Pool design. 

Upon completion, +Pool will host regular swimming lessons and galas. 

The floating pool will be just one of 13 public lidos in the city. As part of their newly announced NY SWIMS program, New York State will introduce new features and safety measures to Lake Sebago Beach, Quarry Lake Beach, Sojourner Truth State Park and Jones Beach East Bath House. 

AccuWeather forecasts more 90-degree days in New York in Summer 2024 than ever before. Last June’s orange, smog-ridden skies gave a distressing image of the climate crisis cleaving the city. Hochul’s public swimming reforms are an attempt to offset the humanitarian impact of rising temperatures. 

+Pool will be trialed on East River this summer. If all goes well, New Yorkers will be splashing about in its filtered water by 2025.

Written By

Penultimate-year undergraduate at the University of St Andrews, studying MA English and Modern History

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