As the mercury hovered around 85 degrees in NYC yesterday, my son & I were headed to Lasker Pool in Central Park to meet some friends. As you head down the “big hill” on the Central Park Loop around 106th street you quickly descend into an oasis. Lasker Pool (which doubles as an ice rink in the winter) gets crowded. However, it is a massive pool, and still easy to find a zone to splash around in with your kids.
Security is tight! If you are toting a bag, don’t even think about showing up at the pool without a pad lock. The lock is your admission ticket along with a bathing suit (you have to have one)! The pool is free to use and has two sessions during the day: from 11am – 3pm & 4pm – 7pm.
Along with my backpack, I was carrying my one year old in the Baby Bjorn (which is starting to bust at the seams because my little guy is maxing the weight limit). We headed into the locker room to get changed & ready for our afternoon in paradise. Pack light because the lockers are small.
Finally, we slowly submerged into the pool. My little guy loves being in the pool and today was no exception. The temperature was just right – not too cold where my son gets upset and not too hot where I get curious about why it might be so warm. Jake kicks his legs, smiles, and starts squealing in excitement as we plow toward his favorite bath toy a few feet away. Things were smooth for a short while…until a blockade of lifeguards stationed themselves around the pool and started blowing their whistles. “Everyone out of the pool”, they shouted. “NOW!” I didn’t understand – it was only 12:30, and the session is supposed to last until 3! Hundreds of bodies swam for the ladders and climbed over the ledge of the pool. This was reminiscent of something out of Caddyshack when the Baby Ruth Bar was floating in the pool!
Now, I am standing on the edge of the pool holding my son, and wondering what caused this delay of game. I asked a few lifeguards if calling everyone out of the pool was a normal occurrence. They replied, “it happens from time to time usually when someone throws up.” A wonderful vision flashes through my head. Standing around impatiently, I mosied on over to another lifeguard to get the scoop. I was told that we would have to wait about twenty minutes before going back in the pool. I was only in the pool for fifteen minutes, but I was not in the mood to wait that long. As I stood there mulling over my options, the lifeguard continued that “a dirty condom was found in the pool.” Say no more…
My son & I headed into the locker room to change into dry clothing. Unfortunately, the room was packed with camp kids and it was impossible to change my son out of his wet clothes. Counselors were blowing whistles loudly trying to assemble order. The echo of the whistles sent my child into a full screaming tail-spin. We were out of there! Not sure when we will be returning to Lasker Pool.