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photo of floating pool in New York

Photos by Daniel Avila/NYC Dept.

photo of floating pool in New York

The “Floating Pool Lady” offered New Yorkers a chance to swim in the East River without actually swimming in the East River this past summer. Located at Barretto Point Park in the Bronx, the “Floating Pool Lady” is a unique freshwater pool built into a barge with a breathtaking view of the New York City waterfront.

Ann Buttenwieser came up with this creative idea and worked with architect Jonathon Kirschenfeld and naval architect Ken Merrill, of C.R. Cushing & Co., to design the pool. The floating pool has a pool house, locker rooms, all standard amenities and the entire thing is ADA compliant. It even features a gangplank to get from land to the pool.

Buttenwiser founded the Neptune Foundation in 1999. The foundation funded the pool’s design and construction by raising $4 million. The barge was purchased in New Orleans in 2004 and was worked on for two years in Amelia, La. In 2008 the Neptune Foundation donated the pool to the parks department in New York City.

Floating baths are certainly not a new concept in New York, they’ve been around since at least the early 19th century and were last seen in the area around the 1940s. However, Buttenwieser’s revival definitely made a splash this year.


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