POOL PROJECT: August 28, Riverdale

by elizabeth | August 29th, 2010

I quietly rode the 1 train all the way to its end, at 242nd Street in the Bronx. The platform, made of wood (!), felt like a boardwalk as I headed for the most urban of “beaches.”

As soon as I began to descend, I was hit with the smoke of dozens of BBQ grills and the melodies and bass lines of several Merengue songs. Woah. Everybody was out having a family party on the lawn of patchy tall grass and wood chips!

I arrived at the entrance to the Van Cortlandt Park pool, and had to wait in line for about ten minutes. I presumed that this was because the capacity was maxed out and we had to wait for others to exit. But it turned out that something had happened and they had been “upping the pH level” of the pool. Not a great sign. But still…. I went in.

Perhaps I was extra wary from that bit of information. But the water looked positively green and murky, and was overflowing from all sides into shallow tidal gatherings by the edge of the deck. I jumped in. The water felt slimy, and there were mosquitoes flying everywhere (perhaps because there are actual trees in the enormous parkland just beyond the fence – this is NYC’s fourth largest park). The water temperature matched the air temperature, and it felt like I was not standing in water at all, even chest-deep. Strange… and gross. I was excited to get home for a proper shower.

The highlight of my trip (aside from seeing several MTA train yards) was overhearing a well-dressed man as he left himself a voice reminder on his phone: “Mister Rogers’ theme song.”

P.S. It was hard to get photos, but here’s the pool at a tranquil moment, courtesy of the Parks Department website. Kids doing cannonballs not included….

STATUS: 25 down, 10 to go

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elizabeth! is a vocalist, trombonist, and songwriter working in NYC and Los Angeles. Originally from Vermont, she studied neuroscience at Harvard before moving to NYC to play, tour, and record with jazz musicians, indie rockers, pop stars and more. Her new album of original jazzy pop tunes was just released on Canopy Jazz!

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