With the long, wet and rainy spring finally behind us, Hudson County kids (and fun-loving adults) have a plethora of pools to choose from.
Most Hudson County towns offer places to do a cannonball, take a high dive, or at least lounge in the sun.
For Hoboken residents, the Hoboken High School pool is the only game in town. This summer, the high school pool at Ninth and Clinton streets will be open Monday through Thursday. Besides the all-day adult swim, toddlers can use the pool from 10 to 11 a.m.; beginners (5-10 years old), who must be accompanied by an adult, from 1 to 3 p.m.; experienced swimmers (8-13 years old) from 3 to 5 p.m.; family swim on Tuesday and Thursday from 7 to 9 p.m., and adult swim conditioning on Monday and Wednesday from 8 to 9 p.m. There is a $25 fee for six weeks of family swim.
Family swim consists of two adults and a maximum of three children. Each additional child is $10. Those interested in using the pool can register at City Hall, 94 Washington St., between 9 a.m. and 7 p.m. Monday through Friday. To register children, parents will need to present a copy of their birth certificate and proof of residency such as a rent receipt or gas bill. Classes are filled on a first-come, first-serve basis.
Hoboken also features a fountain located at the top of Pier A Park to allow people who can't access a pool to be able to cool off. Thick streams of chlorinated water shoot 10 feet into the air through holes in the pavement and come splashing back to earth in a cooling burst of refreshment. Local kids (and some adults) can be found riding their bicycles and running through the refreshing spray during the summer months.
Jersey City, being the largest town in Hudson County, boasts the largest number of pools to serve its wide and diverse population.
There are 13 pools to choose from and according to Jersey City Recreation Department representative Joe Macchi, each pool has specific times of the day that cater to different groups.
"We have many non-profit organizations and different groups that come in and use the pools," said Macchi. There are also many programs available at different pools such as "Learn to Swim" classes.
According to Jersey City Community Outreach Supervisor Frank Falcicchio, all of the pools are indoor facilities, with the exception of the Pavonia Pool, which is outdoors.
Said Falcicchio, "There are a number of citizens in Jersey City that because of financial constraints, are forced to stay in town for the whole summer. They don't have the advantage of going away, and it is the mandate of the Recreation Department to offer programs that will give them something constructive to do during the summer months. We have arts and crafts sessions as well as cultural events."
Various Jersey City pools are open from 9a.m. to 9 p.m. to residents only and are free to use, with the exception of the Pershing Field pool facility, which costs $3 for adults and $2 for children.
Because of the high number of facilities in this sprawling Hudson County city, Falcicchio recommends that anyone interested in finding out pool times call the main pool number to be given at the end of this article.
Union City residents' choice of pools to splash around in was reduced by exactly half last summer when the 47th Street pool on the corner of Palisade and 47th Street was closed due to structural defects under the fiberglass body of the pool. This necessitated the constant patching of the bottom of the pool, and engineers finally had enough and recommended the closure of the pool. Said Parks and Recreation Commissioner Michael Leggiero, "Last year, the bottom literally and figuratively fell out of the pool."
Luckily, Union City boasts another pool, an indoor facility. The Bruce D. Walter Pool located on West and Fifth Streets (adjacent to the Edison School), sports shower facilities and a locker room.
Said Bruce Walter Pool Aquatic Director Elke Tatulli, "I think the way we set up the facility really benefits everybody. We divide up the days. We have different groups at different times. Everyone has their special time. Union City tries to offer a lot of activities to give the kids something to do and to keep them off the streets."
The Walter Pool is open from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. five days a week and is open on Sundays from 8:45 a.m. to 5 p.m. The pool is closed on Sundays and open to Union City residents only. It's free.
Residents rejoiced in early May when it was announced that construction would begin in earnest on a brand new 47th Street Pool. The project, which is slated to be completed by either December of this year or January 2004, will be the only pool facility in Hudson County to feature a motorized retractable roof, something Union City Mayor Brain Stack wanted from the very beginning and lobbied quite hard to get.
According to the mayor, approximately $1.5 million of the approximately $3.1 million total cost of the project will be coming from state Green Acres funding, which Stack, in his role as a Hudson County freeholder, was instrumental in securing. The local Community Development Agency, under Director Kennedy Ng, will be contributing $1 million in funding, with the rest coming from "various county grants," according to the mayor.
West New York
The West New York Swim Center located on 60th Street directly below Boulevard East boasts what is perhaps the best view of all of Hudson County's pools. The New York City skyline is in plain sight to the east.
Said West New York Pool supervisor Arthur Kogge, "We have a draw that other pools do not with the New York City skyline in the background. The pool isn't the biggest, but the view is great."
The facility now sports a new stairway and deck leading to the main pool house and a new pool deck around the pool itself.
According to Kogge, the pool is open to the general public, including non-West New York residents. West New York residents who wish to become pool members for a summer season will pay $99 for the first adult family member and $49 for each additional adult member. Children 5 and under are free.
West New Yorkers who do not wish to become pool members but still want to use the facility may do so for $5 during the week and $6 on weekends. Out-of-towners must pay $10 during the week and $12 on weekends.
The pool hosts official recreation department activities on weekday mornings, so the pool is actually open to the public from 12 to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday, and it is open on weekends from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Thirty-five to 40 kids from Guttenberg are bused to the pool twice weekly to use it.
Said Lifeguard Supervisor John Diaz, "I like doing this a lot. It gets the kids away from the heat and the streets."
The facility also has a baby wading pool and a picnic area for those who get hungry after spending five straight hours in the water. Remember, though, to wait at least a half hour to go back in the water after eating!
Secaucus, being the most "suburban" of Hudson's County's towns (and being closest to Bergen County), not surprisingly boasts the most spacious facility. Sporting four distinct pools (an Olympic-sized pool, a diving tank, a lap pool, and a wading pool for the kiddies the Secaucus Swim Center is open to non-residents. Secaucus residents may "sponsor" someone from another town to be a guest of the pool. Guests pay $8 during the week and $10 on weekends.
A full (weekly) pool membership for residents is $145, and it's $225 for non-residents.
According to Secaucus Swim Center officials, day passes are available to Secaucus residents who are not members and to non-resident guests of pool members provided that they are accompanied by pool members.
According to Secaucus Swim Center Supervisor John Schwartz, day camps and other groups stay in one corner and everybody else mingles around. "We also have a lap pool that is strictly for adults so they can do laps," he said. "The older folks like that feature."
Schwartz also added that the pool runs swimming classes conducted by the lifeguards. These are half-hour classes that run from 9 a.m. to 10:40 a.m. on weekdays during the summer season.
Hours are 10:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. weekly and 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. on the weekends.
North Bergen and Weehawken
North Bergen had the bad fortune last year to have its one municipal pool closed down due to environmental concerns. According to published accounts, the pool, located between 89th and 91st Streets, was shut down when high levels of PCB's (polychlorinated biphenyls) and oil were found in the groundwater beneath the complex.
The shutdown has forced North Bergen into an agreement with Secaucus to use that municipality's facility. North Bergen residents will be charged $220 for a full summer membership to Secaucus' facility. This is less that what other non-residents would pay.
As tiny Weehawken does not have a pool facility, their children are bused to the West New York swim center, and just recently an agreement was reached to bus some Weehawken children to Secaucus' facility.
For more information, contact the recreation departments in each town: in Hoboken, (201) 420-2012; in Secaucus, (201) 866-2421; in Jersey City, (201) 547-4582; in Weehawken, (201) 392-2061; in West New York, (201) 295-5080; and in Union City, (201) 392-3696.