POOL PROJECT: August 31, Central Park

by elizabeth | September 3rd, 2010

Central Park needs no introduction. But did you know it has a huge swimming pool in its northeastern corner? Lasker Rink (an ice skating destination in the winter) is crazy and chaotic by day, and a lovely place to swim laps by night.

My friend Jesse Neuman, trumpeter, educator, and the person responsible for bringing me to Ecuador this winter to teach music with his company MUSICWORKS, fabricated this interview for you, dear reader:

I had the distinct pleasure of joining Elizabeth! and her “pool project” (she’s attempting to swim in all of NYC’s public pools in one month). The weather was warm and the sunset pleasantly fuzzy as we slipped into Central Park’s Lasker Rink waters.

Jesse: Wow, it’s warmer than I expected.

Elizabeth: Yeah…I’ve stepped into a few kiddie pools that were even warmer.

J: Yikes…sorry I mentioned it. Is, um, “that” a big issue?

E: My old summer camp had a sign posted in front of the swimming area that read, “Welcom to our ool—notice there is no P in it. Let’s keep it that way.” I wish they would send that handout home with NYC kids on the last day of school.

J: Well, I guess that’s what chlorine is for.

E: You said it! If my hair isn’t bleached green by the end of a swim, I know I need an extra shower.

J: How does this pool compare to the others you’ve visited?

E: Well, it’s hard to compare because time of day, crowdedness, etc. all vary…I’d say 7 for atmosphere, 8 for swimming space, but only a 3 for quality of water.

J: Yeah, it is a little murky down there. When we bumped before I didn’t even see you until it was too late.

E: That wasn’t me.

J: …but you gave me that big smile afterwards…

E: ?

J: Anyways, how are holding up now that you’re almost finished?

E: My arms are tired…and their have been some hallucinations. My boyfriend is about to break up with me, and my trombone embouchure is totally shot. Plus there are the sores… but other than that, I’m good.

J: How many fingers am I holding up right now?

E: None.

J: Wrong, 4. Maybe you should shower off and have some juice.

E: Some of the pools actually do give out free lunch. It was delicious, and full of high fructose corn syrup.

J: Maybe that’s why the water is so murky…

E: Anything is possible.

J: I couldn’t help but notice the eclectic variety of fashionable swimwear the NYC swimming public puts on display…

E: There are body parts I wish I hadn’t seen. Now I cry a little before I got to bed at night.

J: Do you have any suggestions for the NYC Parks Dept.?

E: Yes. Firstly, get your rules straight. Every freakin’ lifeguard has their own set of do’s and don’ts, and they are all drunk with whistle blowing power. Secondly, we need a body mass to swimsuit fabric requirement (at LEAST 3:1). Also, there should be a “no yelling at your kids” zone.

J: What’s the strangest thing you’ve seen during this month at the pools?

E: I swam in a dumpster. That was pretty out. There were some fantastic sunburns too.

J: Do you have any advice for swimmers out there?

E: Yes–there’s no shame in wearing a 1 piece.

STATUS: 30 down, 5 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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