The Philadelphia Department of Parks and Recreation posted specific pool opening dates yesterday. Thirteen days before the pools are set to start opening. With pool locations. (Map here.) This is a serious culture shift. This is amazing.
(A word to the wise: See the day the pool you’re interested in is slated to open? Make it the following day in your head and you’re less likely to show up to a half-filled pool behind a locked gate. Which isn’t what’s supposed to happen, or what usually does happen, but it can happen, and is that really how you want your first swim attempt of the summer to go? Use that extra day to learn more about the people and infrastructure that make the pools possible and you’ll enjoy swimming in them even more, I promise.)
Meanwhile, I believe I heard at City Council the other day that not only is the sugary drinks tax (which would make it possible to fix up rec centers, among other community needs) moving out of committee (to a final vote next Thursday), but that Council President Darrell Clarke recommended that some of the revenue from it go to Parks and Rec staffing as well. I can’t find written confirmation of this anywhere, but here’s hoping.
And finally, the brilliant Pop-Up Pool Project will be brightening up pool time at four new locations this year, in addition to repeating last year’s wonderfulness in Francisville. This year’s lucky spots:
- In Center City (at 26th and South): My first pool, my love, the place where this website was born. Already called “the Taj Mahal” and “the Country Club” by people who work at other City pools, O’Connor Pool + Pop-Up Pools is going to give private swim clubs a serious run for their money. Which I suspect is the point.
- In West Philly (at 44th and Haverford): Lee Cultural Center is the true Philly public pool lover’s pool. When I begged Ms. Thelma, who trained me to be a lifeguard, to name a favorite pool other than her own, she conceded Lee. Head lifeguard Boston Berry is a legend – he trained the people who now train people, from beginner’s strokes up through lifesaving.
- In the lower Northeast, near Olney (at Rising Sun and Comly): This is not Lawncrest‘s first shot at swagger. Will the intricate walk-through sculpture that lightning turned into a permanent hazard zone get revived for the Pop-Up? I am excited to see. And at any rate, the pool’s big.
- In Mount Airy (at Boyer and Pleasant): Pleasant Playground lives up to its name. It’s a family spot. In terms of the Pop-Up locations, it’s probably the smallest, with the least feel of being tucked away. Which makes it representative of many of our less lauded, but equally vital, Philly public pools.
- And back in lower North Philadelphia (at 18th and Francis): The poor man’s infinity pool, Francisville will Pop-Up again.
It’s shaping up to be a wonderful summer.