Brooklyn Heights

Pop-Up Pool in Brooklyn Bridge Park ushers in summer with a splash

Plus: 55 NYC public pools now open

June 30, 2016 By Mary Frost Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Mom Lindy Arpante with Sadie, right, and Liev, left, at Brooklyn Bridge Park’s Pop-Up Pool. Photos by Mary Frost
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A little bit of heaven officially opened on Thursday in Brooklyn Bridge Park, but park Conservancy members got the jump on the summer crowds with Wednesday’s soft-opening of the Pop-Up Pool.

Ellie, age 2, climbed onto the side of the pool repeatedly and leapt into the arms of her mom, Jenny Donaker. Donaker, who lives in Brooklyn Heights, said this was Ellie’s first time in the pool.

“She can’t actually swim but she thinks she can,” she said. “They call her ‘Mermaid’ in swim class.”

Lindy Arpante paddled in the cool blue water with her daughter Sadie, age 2, and son Liev, almost 6. Arpante, who trekked to the pool from Cobble Hill, said she and the kids were thrilled to be there.

“Our good friends got tickets and invited us,” she said.

Megan Cayten, from Carroll Gardens, splashed with her son Chili, age 2. They decided to come on Wednesday because when Chili saw the picture of the pool, he said, “Chili in pool,” Cayten said.

Chili, pointing to the nearby soft sand beach dotted with tables and umbrellas, told the Brooklyn Eagle, “I went there in the sand.”

Megan Cayten boosts her son Chili up into the air.

As the families played, Conservancy Executive Director Nancy Webster sipped a cool drink at the pool concession, Lizzmonade.

“We’re super excited to begin another season at the Pop-Up Pool and beach here in the park,” she told the Eagle.

Webster said that close to 500 kids a day, seven days a week enjoy the pool in the summer – “Not counting folks who come here to enjoy the beach and the Lizzmonade concession and not counting kids who come in the morning before the pool opens for swim lessons. It’s a hopping place in the summer.”

You don’t have to be a kid to use the pool, she said. “The pool is for kids, families, and all of us who wish that we still were a kid in the summer.”

Brooklyn Bridge Park Conservancy Executive Director Nancy Webster relaxes poolside.

The Conservancy, which oversees cultural, educational and recreational events in the park, runs the pool, “and it’s been a contribution to the park that we’ve made over the past few years that has been very special to us,” Webster said. “We’ve been really glad that we’ve been able to participate in the life of the park in this way.”

The pool is open for its last season – a Memorandum of Understanding called for it to be in place for only five years – and many parents are pushing to extend its run until a permanent pool can be put in place.

Does Webster think a full-size pool will come to the park in the future?

“I think the Pop-up Pool has shown that people love to swim in Brooklyn Bridge Park, and I think that everybody is united in really wanting to explore how we can bring a more permanent swimming solution to the park, the Conservancy included,” she said.

The pool will be open through Labor Day weekend, as will be the 55 public pools throughout the city. Swimmers of all ages and levels are welcome daily from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. for 45-minute sessions.  More about the Pop-Up Pool at

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