Astoria Pool

Archinect points to a New York Times article on an exhibition of "Giant Depression-Era Pools That Cool New York" at Central Park's Arsenal. These pools are the product of Robert Moses' urban planning concepts, as well as his background as a competition swimmer. Of the eleven Olympic-size pools featured in the exhibition, supposedly Astoria Pool was his favorite, as "It has been said that Moses intended it to be the grandest of the new pools because it had the best view of the Triborough Bridge, which was completed in the same year."

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Astoria Pool in 1936, with Hell Gate Bridge

The slide show accompanying the Times article shows the above view of Astoria Pool, as well as other vintage and contemporary images from it and other pools. The biggest change between the then and now conditions is the growth of the landscape, somewhat helping to temper the enormous size of the pools, built in keeping with the enormous size and grand thinking of the bridges and other public works at the time.

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Astoria Park and Pool with views towards Triborough Bridge; Park plan

The City has numerous pages on Astoria Park, including its Park of the Month feature from last summer, a Partnerships for Parks tour, and panoramas.


  1. This pool is truly huge. I actually saw it on google earth before moving to the neighborhood and wondered what that large concrete structure was. It is great to see that historical image. I have been reading your blog for about a year and thought I would welcome you to Astoria. I think you may live a block over from me, from the looks of the picture.

  2. Thanks, anon. My wife and I took a ride around the park with some friends, though that doesn't give a good look of the pool. It did definitely illustrate the impact of the two bridges on the park, something I find interesting, not only because of their physical presence, but because they aren't really much of an impediment towards uses under and around them. In Chicago, it seems like areas around infrastructure are either not used to their fullest, perhaps owing to a lower value in land relative to NYC. Whatever the reason, I love seeing things like basketball courts below a highway overpass. Or the extreme, of shops and other building actually below roadways.

  3. Weird, I was actually right by the pool today reading...what a coincidence.

  4. I wish I could dive into that pool than appreciating its' beauty on a photo. I can't see the comparison of its' looks before and now. Today, it has changed completely.


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