Sunset Park opens pool season with celebration

Summer fun is back at Sunset.

A celebration was held on Friday, June 26 at Sunset Park Pool for the annual opening of the neighborhood’s prime summer destination, as well as pools citywide.

New York City Parks Commissioner Mitchell Silver was on hand, dressed in his swimming gear, to partake in the occasion. “Let me just say how humbling this is to be out of my normal suit and attire but I’m here to celebrate a summer of fun for the kids and all the families,” he said. “Swimming is one of the best ways to stay active and to get exercise, whether as a competitive sport or to just have fun and be healthy.”

Entertainment included a Mariachi band and dance performances as well as free food and refreshments.

Silver also announced additions to the city’s 55 outdoor pools, especially Sunset Park. “You’ll notice how beautiful and eye-catching the new changing pavilions are here at Sunset , designed by the talented graduate architecture students from Parsons innovative Design Workshop,” he said. “They were inspired by the landmark recreation center behind them. It adds a nice appeal to the pool.”

He also mentioned that the project will allow the recreation center to remain open for programming year round. “It has now transformed the usability of the center without having to use the space for locker rooms during the busy summer season,” he said. Free healthy food will be provided for children 18 years old and younger, courtesy of the Summer Meals Program.

In addition, a new play area has been added near the pool area. “Whether you want to get in the water or exercise your legs or just take in beautiful views, there is now a new added feature for kids at this pool this summer,” Silver said.

Second Vice Chair of Community Board 7 Zachary Jasie noted, “The community is very excited. The new changing rooms are a great addition to the Sunset Park pool, allowing the rec center really to be on full display because the gym that was used for changing rooms until this season will now be open for a variety of activities,” he said, mentioning table tennis tournaments and adult dodgeball as examples. “The new playground is really a wonderful addition to what was a previously underutilized space.”

After the performances and conference, Silver and a group of children counted down from 10 before taking the first dive of the summer season. “Cold initially, but my body adjusted after about five minutes,” he joked.

Parents are happy their kids have a place to cool off. “The kids were looking forward to it since June started,” said Sunset resident Mimi Ferrer. “For the first time in a long time, my daughter is doing the swimming lessons here.”

The pool’s official opening to the public was on Saturday, June 27. Daily hours of operation are 11 a.m-3 p.m. and 4-7 p.m. seven days a week. It will close on Labor Day.

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