+ POOL 2023 Riversweeps
+ POOL is driving free and safe access to the waters around New York City for swimming. What began as an idea for a water-filtering floating swimming pool, conceived by a small group of designers, has since launched a movement to reclaim NYC’s waterways. We support the preservation, restoration and conservation of natural bodies of water; promote water stewardship; and provide quality swim instruction and environmental education to prepare New Yorkers for a future where all have access to the water that surrounds them.
+ POOL is a city-wide, participatory effort, powered by the people that surround, question and engage with our shared vision to promote equitable access to the waters surrounding NYC. Our organization’s work is centered around three core pillars:
River swimming in New York City offers an incredible opportunity to connect with nature and explore the city from a unique perspective. The waters surrounding New York City were once open and accessible to all, but in the early 1900s, rapid war-time industrial development and population growth began to have an impact on the quality of urban waters, and as a result, public access to waters for swimming were restricted. + POOL started as a simple idea for: instead of trying to clean the entire river, what if you could clean a small piece of it. And what if you could change how New Yorkers see their rivers, just by giving them a chance to swim in it? And so the idea of a plus-shaped floating pool was born. Like a giant strainer the pool was designed to filter river water through the walls of the pool to create a safe swimming space. This simple idea captured the imagination of the world, launching a movement to reclaim our waters for swimming.
By reclaiming and revitalizing the waters surrounding New York City, we can unlock the benefits of swimming and create a healthier, more vibrant, and inclusive urban environment for all residents and visitors to enjoy.
+ POOL is for everyone, which is why it’s designed as four pools in one: a Kid’s pool, Sports pool, Lap pool and Lounge pool. Each can be used independently to cater to all types of swimmers, combined to form an Olympic-length lap pool, or opened completely into a 9,000 square foot pool for play. Its universally recognizable shape and unusual offshore siting immediately position + POOL as an iconic piece of public infrastructure.
Like a giant strainer dropped in the river, + POOL filters river water within its walls, removing bacteria, contaminants and odors, leaving only safe, swimmable water that meets local and state standards.
We’ve worked with engineers at Arup to study the structure, mechanics, and filtration systems, and ecological consultants at One Nature to maximize + POOL’s benefit to the environment. We’ve spent six weeks on a pier in the East River testing different filtration materials and learned about enterococci and fecal coliform from professors at Columbia University’s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory. We’ve worked with innovation designers at IDEO and naval architects Persak & Wurmfeld to design + POOL’s floating structure. We tested the full filtration system in the harbor for five months and proved our filtration concept works. We filed a provisional patent. We studied the feasibility of various sites with marine engineers at McLaren Engineering throughout the harbor to understand what physical conditions are ideal for + POOL. And we gained the support of city and state agencies, open-water swimmers, waterfront advocacy organizations, and over 5,000 incredible supporters who pledged money through Kickstarter, events, and our nonprofit! + much more!
After years of advocating for access to the river for swimming, we received a notice to proceed with due diligence on the project in the waters north of the Manhattan Bridge from the City of New York through the New York City Economic Development Corporation (I.e. NYCEDC). This historic advance has created a pathway for a private public partnership to open up the East River for the kind of river swimming + POOL has long proposed. We are now working on next steps with NYCEDC including project piloting and permitting. They’re still a lot to do with a ton of government agencies, but now that we have a home, we can work on site-specific details for the project in collaboration with the City.
Follow our timeline to learn more about our past and present!
A swim meet is an opportunity for a swimmer to compete in various different strokes and distances, while attempting to drop time.
A free swim is leisurely swimming without any specific goal.
Total Length 217′
Total Width 217′
Total Depth 11′-6″
Total Area 29,700 sf
Pool Volume 285,500 Gallons
Pool Area 9,500 sf
Pool Depth 5′ – 0″
Pool Length 164′-1 (Olympic)
Pool Width 32′-8″ (4 Lanes)
Summer Operation May 25 – Sept 7
Hours of Operation 10am – 7pm
Max Pool Capacity 300
Max Capacity/Day 1,800
Max Capacity/Season 189,000