The truth is, the rivers in New York today are clean enough to swim in. Without a wet suit, no adult would do it today, let alone allow their child to take a dip there. Swimming in the Hudson River might not be it's biggest draw, but thanks to a number of cleaning projects and pollution regulations, many areas along the river are now safe to swim at and enjoy. The Plus Pool plans is designed to filter the waters of the East River to fill a massive public pool big enough to have different “wings” for different uses (laps, sports, children, lounge). “That’s going to be really difficult thing to do.”. The city spent $45 billion over the last four decades to improve water quality, including upgrading sewage treatment facilities and adding green infrastructure to reduce runoff, all while industry that once polluted the waterfront died off. The muck overloads the wastewater system, and it ends up getting flushed out into the waterways. And that’s still a huge improvement from the 110 billion gallons that were dumped citywide in 1985. All rights reserved. The New York-based +Pool (pronounced as PlusPool) definitely embraces the crazy, though, with its grand plan of putting up a public swimming pool that floats on the river, so you can swim “in the river” without actually coming in contact with dirty river water. The park would soften the area’s relationship with the water: Instead of the hard promenade seen at nearby Domino Park, or the craggy boulders of East River State Park farther north, the new site would let people walk right up to the water and interact with it at a wading beach, kayak launch, and educational pier. A massive new Williamsburg waterfront development proposal was unveiled on Thursday, and it includes two sky-high towers, a six-acre park, a YMCA and – most intriguing – a sandy beach. “It was so fun—I really felt like Kramer,” she says, referencing the Seinfeld episode where the kooky character, tired of overcrowded pools, goes for lengthy swims in the East River. In 2018, the East River had at least 82 days of overflow, says Mike Dulong, senior attorney for Riverkeeper, a group that advocates for clean waterways; there were 179 days of overflow citywide. Facebook Twitter Pinterest Email WhatsApp. As founder and research director of the Empire Center for Public Policy, E.J. Even politicians gotten in on it: In 2011, then-Mayor Michael Bloomberg launched a plan for new waterfront parks and a ferry service, saying, “Our waterfront and waterways—what we are calling New York City’s ‘Sixth Borough’—are invaluable assets. About 21 billion gallons of this combined sewage end up in the city’s waterways annually – and this sewage cocktail ends up getting dumped into the East River about 70 times a year. It’s also better to swim in waterways with greater tidal flushing – where water flows quickly – like the East River, where enterococci as well as other forms of bacteria are unable to stick around for long. In that Seinfeld episode, Kramer is mistaken for a dead body; the stench of the river follows him all day. During those months, East River water temperature does not drop below 20°C/68°F and therefore suitable for comfortable swimming. (Greg Thompson, U.S. “Everybody was looking at us like we were crazy,” says Weinberg, now 58. The East River is notorious for historical pollution but a Kickstarter project vows to create a pool that cleans while letting people recreationally swim. Seal Spotted Swimming In East River - Upper East Side, NY - A harbor seal spotted off Randall's Island this week is the latest wild animal to make an appearance near the East … McMahon previously worked as a journalist in Albany, as an Assembly Republican staffer and a budget adviser for almost 30 years, giving him great insight into the goings-on in the Capitol. Lisa Switkin, a senior principal with James Corner Field Operations and the park’s lead designer, predicts that it could happen within a decade; if successful, other developers could follow suit. The same company that built that first bath—Bjarke Ingels Group—is working with Two Trees on the Williamsburg project. Of course, renderings of +Pool have been floating around for years, so you won’t learn all that much new from watching the doc– but it does feature some pretty neat archival photos of the “floating baths” that existed in the East River until the ’40s. Skeptics often ask Capri Djatiasmoro, the race director for Coney Island Brighton Beach Open Water Swimmers, who has participated in an annual marathon swim around the island of Manhattan, if she gets inoculation shots before entering the East River. Proposed designs, and this is crucial, must "provide the public with a swim facility which is capable of filtering the waters of the East River," so that you (yes, you!) }); If you’re still hung up on the fact that the East River is at times full of sewage, consider the fact that the city’s waterways are cleaner than they’ve been in years. For decades, the water in New York’s rivers have been considered too filthy for swimming. “And if you’re not going to retreat, you have to change your relationship with the water. Here are some guides to swimming and floating on the James. The East River has an unattractive, greenish tint, and a few floating Doritos bags, sure. In order to prevent a buildup of bacteria and ensure that this new beach would be clean enough for swimmers, Dulong said that rainfall in the area would need to be vigilantly captured and treated. Two decades after she conceived of the notion for a floating pool, her dream was realized--with the help of … But the East River, pushing through four of the five boroughs like a harried commuter, is an inside joke. • In all situations, swimmers should exercise caution. Indeed, the East River hasn’t always been the pinnacle of cleanliness – its waters were once referred to as the “syringe tide” after medical waste made its way across the city’s shoreline in 1988. Correction: This article originally stated that 1.1 billion gallons of this combined sewage end up in the city’s waterways annually instead of 21 billion gallons of combined sewage. “After a swim we do shots of tequila or Bacardi. The East River is home to many juvenile American Eels, which can fit in the palm of your hand. A dolphin was spotted swimming in the East River off the East 90s of Manhattan on Wednesday morning and was still there Wednesday afternoon.. Dolphins are occasional visitors to New York’s waterways and, unlike in January, when an obviously ailing dolphin turned up in the filthy Gowanus Canal in Brooklyn, marine mammal rescuers did not immediately sound alarms. Follow Us. Exceeding their goal, they raised $273,000 to build "+Pool," a barge-cum-swimming pool that they plan to float in the East River. A report from the NYC Department of Environmental Protection released in October says the city’s rivers, harbors, and bays are cleaner than they’ve been since the Civil War. “Initially the community was a bit hesitant, probably similarly to this location, to engage with the water,” Tony Shiber, an architect with BIG, says of the Copenhagen project. New York was built out of concrete and pavement, not material that sucks up that water. 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