For a list of public pools throughout the boroughs click here.
Astoria Pool: it’s close to Sunnyside, it’s big, it’s clean and best of all, it’s free. But if you’ve never visited before, read the pool rules first, otherwise it can be a harrowing experience.
Getting there: You can take the N, Q train to the last stop, Ditmars Boulevard, then walk along 23rd Avenue to 19th Street. The walk is enduring – about ten blocks – and there isn’t much shade so go prepared with a hat and plenty of drinking water.
An alternate route is taking the Number 7 train to Court Square and transfer to the Q69 bus, which leaves 44th Drive and 21st Street. It’s two and a half blocks from the train station to the bus stop but the pay off is, it’s only one block from the 24th Avenue bus stop to the pool.
Although the “pool rules” state an endless list of Dos and Don’ts, here’s a rundown of key regulations for your convenience.
* You cannot bring in food or juice, even if you intend to consume it after your visit. Bottled water, however, is permitted. The staff will inspect bags, much like at the airport – have them open and ready for sight inspection.
* Have your lock for the locker visible or readily available because they will ask to see it and enter in your swimsuit rather than changing into it there.
* Children above the age of six are not permitted into the locker room of the opposite gender. This means, boys will have to wait by the gates to the pool while Mom enters through the locker room. Once inside, the waiting party can be received through the gates. Reverse the process to leave. The same goes for girls with dads. Park staff supervises the waiting children and the process can be rather convenient. A family change room is available on the other side of the locker room entrance for changing out of bathing suits.
* The pool hours state 11 am – 7 pm but it closes between 3 – 4 pm for “cleaning.” Plan your time accordingly.
To make the most of your visit, keep your possessions to a minimum. Cell phones, floating devices and non-swim wear apparel are not permitted in the pool area. All white tops are okay – the concern is color dye. Also, don’t forget sunblock – which can be brought in – there’s plenty of sun.
Even during the most stifling days, the pool has plenty of room for playing, splashing and yes, swimming, too. Enjoy.