The agency also piloted a new water safety program for 250 children. On September 8, 2022, the Parks Department shared statistics, updates and accomplishments to celebrate the end of the summer 2022 beach and pool season. The City’s eight public beaches and 53 outdoor pools close for the season this Sunday, September 11th.
According to Parks, outdoor pool attendance surpassed one million people for the first time since 2019. This reflects an increase of nearly 20 percent over 2021. This increase occurred despite initial concerns about the nation’s lifeguard shortage. New York City was one of the few major US cities that was able to open all of its beaches and public pools without permanent closures because of staffing issues.
The Parks Department also celebrated new upgrades and renovations to some of its facilities. Two new pools opened at the Abraham Lincoln Playground in Harlem and Playground 174 adjacent to the Bronx River Houses located in Soundview. The new in-ground pools replaced the 1970’s above ground pools, and are fully accessible. The pools were upgraded through the Community Parks Initiative. The Highbridge Wading Pool was closed for repairs but Parks staff adapted some of the space to use as a spray deck with games, sand boxes, lounge chairs and shade structures.
To promote safety, the department piloted a new water safety program for children called “Learn to Be Safe.” “Learn to Be Safe” is a land-based program designed to teach children how to be safe in and around water. The program covered oceans, lakes, rivers, water parks, and also discussed water hazards in the home. For the program’s first year, 250 children participated at five pool sites around the city.
Parks Commissioner Sue Donoghue stated, “Our public pools and beaches are an essential part of summertime in New York, and as temperatures rise due to the effects of climate change they’ve become even more critical to provide relief from the heat. I’m so proud of the hundreds of Parks staff – from lifeguards, to filter plant operators, and everyone in between – who worked hard every day this summer to keep our pools and beaches open in the face of a challenging summer. As the city moves toward recovery from the pandemic, we know how important these spaces are to the community, because at Parks we are the community.”
By: Veronica Rose (Veronica is the CityLaw fellow and a New York Law School graduate, Class of 2018).
Parks: NYC Parks Shares Summer 2022 Beach and Pool Season Highlights, 20% Increase in Pool Attendance (September 8, 2022).