How's the water?

The story in today's NY Times brings to mind the rather sorry state of outdoor swimming in Allston. The nearby DCR pool at Magazine Beach in Cambridge gets 5 stars, but on this side of the river the options are either the Reilly Memorial Swimming Pool (355 Chestnut Hill Ave) in the southwest corner of the neighborhood or the one hard alongside the Mass Pike, Soldiers Field Rd, and North Beacon St shown in the photo to the right.

This pool might have been quite nice before the Pike was built, and it is too bad that the mitigation for the Pike's construction (if there was any) didn't include relocating the pool to somewhere else. In its current location, you can just about feel the car and truck exhaust wafting down the hill from the Pike to the pool. Getting there by bike or foot is just about impossible. And the building doesn't seem to have been renovated since its construction (probably in the 1930s or 40s based on its architecture and condition).

The existing pool and building doesn't use that much land - at 100x300 feet it is less than 3/4 of an acre. Even still, I don't expect a new pool, useful for only 3 months of the year, to be at the top of anyone's list during the Community-Wide Planning of A/B North or any other planning exercise. But it also can't be that expensive to dig a hole and build a small, one-story bath house. While a swimmable Charles River may still be years away, a new, clean, attractive pool accessible by car, foot, and bicycle is worth considering.

Discovering the Cool Pleasure of New York City Pools -


  1. Anonymous5:47 PM

    The Fanuel Pool, as us old timers know it, was a really nice pool. I have not been in there since the mid 70's, but it was good enough to go swimming in. there used to be a ten foot seperate pool with two diving boards. One was a low board and the other was about ten feet high. I know the boys loved climbing up the high ladder to use it the high dive. I did not as I thought I would break my neck in the landing. You can see the outline of the pool where it was filled in and paved over for parking. As for the smell from the exhausts. There are just as many cars that go by there now as there was back then and it never bothered any of us. It also had a children's area where the trailers are now and it was very shaded. As for getting there by bike, it was never a problem for any of us. As for walking, no problem there either. We also took the bus at the Sports Depot and got off by the pool. My friends all had a private limo service, compliments of mom's station wagon. None of us ever got hurt or killed going by any of those modes of transportation. I think the problem is that all of the pedestrians and bikers just assume that they should have the right of way. There are crosswalks near the pool and sidewalks. There are also lights.
    It is much easier for a bike to stop and a walker to stop than it is for a 2,000 lb. vehicle - in motion - to stop on a dime. At least Brighton has a pool and count your blessings on that one. I know of other towns/cities that HAD A POOL and no money to fix it, so they closed it permanently and the city has been fighting for ten years to get the money to fix it. Now they have the money and my kids are too old to enjoy it, even if it does get fixed. It is also much smaller than Brighton's.
    Let's appreciate what we have and not get nit picky. They ruined the baby pool by taking out the pool and putting in that sprinkler area. But alas, that is another topic for another day.

  2. Those intersections have lights, but many don't actually have a pedestrian cross-signal, and the curb cuts are oddly placed at best. My route to work (whether I bike or drive) takes me through some horrible intersections: where Market Street meets Western Ave/Arsenal St; where Market St., Lincoln St. and Birmingham Parkway meet; where N. Beacon St. meets Birmingham Parkway and then that doozy of a mess by the pool... I know that at least one of them is managed by the DCR, but no matter who manages them, something has to change. Honestly, I don't know how anyone can get to the pool unless they drive or wait for the barely running 64 bus. If I were a parent, I would NOT be happy if my kid were riding my bike there. That intersection is TERRIBLE.

  3. Anonymous9:53 AM

    Parents today are too paranoid and afraid to let their kids experience life. I have some fond memories of that pool and the walks we took to get there and the talking we all did along the way. If you have a problem trying to drive thru all of those intersections then maybe you shouldn't be going those routes. I know of some people who will not drive on any major highways or thoroughfares because they are so scared. I drive through those areas all the time and I have told my kids that if they can drive through those areas when they get their permits/license, they will fine anywhere they drive.