Crazy Ideas Are How Good Things Happen

By working together around the clock, the Neptune Foundation, Brooklyn Bridge Park Conservancy, American Leisure, Empire State Development Corporation, and with pro bono legal consulting from Cleary Gottlieb, these groups opened the pool and beach on July 4, 2007.

From July 4 to Labor Day, the pool was open from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily, and the beach was open 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. The new facility was easily accessible via subway and bus through the city transit system, and a shuttle bus transported people from the nearest subway stop to the beach and pool area.

The floating pool soon became known as The Floating Pool Lady in honor of Buttenwieser. Both the pool and adjoining beach area offered programmed activities, including community recreation and camp programs, senior aqua-aerobics and soccer, as well as plenty of organized games and contests.

Success Measured By A Smile

On July 7, Buttenwieser visited the pool again. “The pool was jammed and people were in line, and I looked at how happy people were and I just cried,” she says. “I’d spent all this time raising the money and going through the hoops and working on the physical structure. But I never really realized what it would be like with people in it, and that was the most incredible moment. That was what it was all about. People were happy and having fun.”

To share the resource, The Floating Pool Lady will be transferred to New York City Department of Parks and Recreation’s Barretto Point Park in the Bronx for the 2008 summer season. However, since the pool and beach were such a success, park planners are considering options for a pool at the future site of Brooklyn Bridge Park development.

Communities interested in building a floating pool are advised to:

· Raise awareness and funding by proactively communicating with local media, parks and conservancy groups.

· Create a core team responsible for overseeing the logistical, legal and insurance details.

· Find a location that is readily accessible via mass transit.

· Know all the rules for compliance with the selected waterfront site.

· Know who the users are going to be.

· Have a maintenance and service system in place for the swimming pool and vessel.

· Be sure of utilities, water, power and sewage concerns.

· Be prepared to deal with large crowds.

In areas where accessing the waterfront is a hazard, or the waterfront needs revitalization, a floating pool might just be a sensible solution generated from a crazy idea.

Tammy York is the president of LandShark Communications LLC in Greater Cincinnati. She left her state public-relations position to pursue her passions of outdoor recreation and marketing. Her upcoming book, 60 Hikes Within 60 Miles of Cincinnati, is due out in spring 2009. You can reach her at

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