Skip to Content
Fresh Hell

2024 Will Be Another Year Without Adult Lap Swim at NYC Pools

For the third consecutive year, the Adams administration is canceling Adult Lap Swim, but there's hope for next year (maybe).

(NYC Mayor’s Office)

Since 2020, New York City has not had a single summer with Adult Lap Swim, the extended pool hours from 7 to 8:30 a.m. and 7 to 8:30 p.m., which allowed adults time to swim laps in the City's gorgeous Olympic-sized pools. Instead, adults have been forced to swim during the general swim hours in water filled with delirious children, in pools that are often roped off and shrunken down because of the city's persistent lifeguard shortage.

This year will be no different—the Parks Department confirmed to Hell Gate that it's still far short of the amount of lifeguards it will need to extend pool hours for Adult Lap Swim when outdoor pools open on June 27.

A spokesperson for the Parks Department told Hell Gate that right now, the City only has 300 lifeguards, and that it would need at least 1,400 to restore all of the pre-pandemic swim programming that used to exist, including Adult Lap Swim in the early morning and late evening, a robust schedule of free swim instruction for kids, and open all of the City's beaches. 

During a press conference last week, Deputy Mayor Meera Joshi said that the City was able to recruit 560 new trainees to go through the Parks Department's training program, and that hopefully the City will end up "with a total number that is larger this year than we had last year," when the City ended the 2023 season with around 800 lifeguards overseeing outdoor pools and beaches. Joshi did not say when the lifeguards will graduate from the training program or how many they expect to make it through. 

But there's reason to hope that this season (and hopefully all seasons moving forward) really will turn out better than last.

While other nearby beaches have not had an issue with lifeguard shortages (adjacent Jones Beach, run by the state, and Riis Park, run by the federal government, have been fully staffed the past few summers), much of New York City's issues with lifeguard staffing can be traced to the City's lifeguard union, DC 37's Local 461. Union leadership, which also runs the City's lifeguard training school, has been openly antagonistic to Parks officials and their attempts to reform the City's lifeguard program. Finally, last week, a neutral arbitrator forced the union (which only communicated with the arbitrator through fax machine), to lower requirements for lifeguards and bring them more in line with state requirements, and to allow lifeguards who don't pass the distance test to work the City's kiddie pools, freeing up more lifeguards to work elsewhere. The hope is that the new rules will allow more trainees to pass through the City's training school this year, as well as allow returning lifeguards to be recertified more easily. 

Representatives from DC37 did not show up to last week's announcement of the new rules, which represents the first change to the union contract in more than 40 years. 

More good news: after a year-long renovation project (that's still ongoing), the Parks Department did confirm that Astoria Pool will be open for swimming this year, right at the start of the pool season. We love the view from there

Already a user?Log in

Thanks for reading!

Give us your email address to keep reading two more articles for free

See all subscription options

Stay in touch

Sign up for our free newsletter

More from Hell Gate

As Change to Broker Fees Looms, Real Estate Agents Are Suddenly Concerned That the Rent Is Too High

At a rally to oppose the FARE Act, REBNY and real estate agents expressed a newfound concern about rising rents and the lives of tenants.

New York State Lawmakers Once Again Fail to Pass Meaningful Climate Legislation

While Governor Hochul's last-minute congestion pricing "pause" had a lot to do with it, there's plenty of blame to go around.

We’re So Back: East Village Dollar Slice Joint Is Back to Selling 99 Cent Slices

Owner Sana Ullah said that cratering demand at the elevated price point motivated him to bring it back down.

See all posts