It may be little, but Chew isn’t a pool to mess with. Their swim team is sizable, and one of the best in South Philly. The rules – No Jumping as well as No Diving – are strictly enforced. And hopefully by now, city officials have learned to stop trying to shut it down.
In 2004, Chew Playground (which includes the pool, a playground and constantly-in-use basketball courts and playing fields) was part of the 25% of city recreation facilities Mayor Street proposed to close, lease or sell. But Point Breeze marched and rallied behind it, and City Council ended up restoring funding for Chew and all the affected centers. In 2009, Mayor Nutter did shut Chew’s pool for the summer – and the surrounding community was again one of the most vocal about their need and love for this oasis.
The Playground entrance is on Ellsworth Street between 18th and 19th; from there, the pool is on the far side of the colorfully muralled building to your left. You’ll need to leave all your belongings outside the gate (on the ground or wedged into the fence), sign in and shower before getting in the water. On a hot day, children’s shouts will drown out the sound of the traffic on Washington Avenue.