Marcus Garvey Outdoor Pool Unsafe for Children & Adults

Greetings New York City Officials. NY State Assembly Member and the Media,

Two days ago I had the pleasure of signing up and attending for the NYC Parks department outdoor pool (Adult Lap Swim) at Marcus Garvey Park. What was going to be the beginning of an exciting summer utilizing one of NYC’s pools quickly became a horror story when I ventured into the women’s locker room of Marcus Garvey Outdoor Pool. With five Parks Department employees standing, sitting and “hanging’ around the front of the building, nothing was being done to fix, clean or monitor anyone from coming into contact with the dangers of the locker room. Some of the employees were directing children, some ordering pizza, while the others stood glued to their phones.

Once past the black steel bars of the front entrance, to the right you will enter the women’s locker room, a no frills open area space with half enclosed benches as a changing area.  To the left you will find a short stack of silver brushed lockers each measuring no larger than 1 by 2 feet in height and length.  This however is where the “standard” of locker room flare ends.  Throughout the concrete facade of the women’s locker room you will find mold accumulating from water leaks, 30 gallon garbage tubs filled to the brim with water and floating plastic bags, clearly a result of a leaking ceiling. No doubt with the still water and summer heat, the tub of water is haven for  insect larva. Bathrooms stalls are off hinged making it difficult to close, dust and dirt line the toilet seats, showers providing only drops of water making it impossible to bath before entering the pool (As required). Cracks and fibrous materials are exposed in the ceiling and ventilation ducks..which clearly does not work as evident by the industrial fan attempting to deal with the humidity.  To say the least I was horrified with the deplorable state of the facility, ambivalence and complacent attitude from the employees.

As a 13 year resident of Harlem,over the years I have maintained a membership to the the Parks gym. Typically attending the Hansbrough Recreations Center I was stunned to see how the city would allow a place to deteriorate to such a dangerous state. No doubt thousands of children attend the pool each week, each varying in age and gender. Especially for Harlem, the Parks Department Gym and pool facilities is a primary place for refuge and entertainment for many of Harlem’s children of color.  What is being done to not only maintain the facility but keep it safe for them?

Not only do we live in one of the richest cities in the country, Harlem is now becoming one of the wealthiest communities in the city.  Just steps away a mulit-million dollar tower rises above the park’s skyline, million dollar Brownstones flank the sides, countless movie productions are filmed in and around the very area where the pool is. The question is, where is the investment being made when maintaining our basic facilities?  The disparity is great between the have and the have not’s in NY; the depravity of the Marcus Garvey Outdoor Pool facilities is one more example that highlights this fact.  How can we expect our children of color to want and strive more out of life when we consistently provide them the gruel of what can only be interpreted as what they deserve.

New York City Parks Department Should be Ashamed of Themselves !!!

By no means what I’m presenting is not meant to say Marcus Garvey Pool needs a luxurious facility (Swimsuit ringer, towel services etc.) However safety and functional facilities is needed and should be a priority. Once the community and residents get wind of this it is my hope they will also demand a clean and safe space for their children. This is a fair request from myself and the hundreds of others that attend each day to the pool. Could you really see your child touching, showering within this space?

If the welfare for your constituents is not enough to ignite change,  surly you can see a potential liability issue that can arise should a child or adult become hurt by being near or tapering the unkempt, dirty and damaged areas of the the women’s locker room. PLEASE take action. Our children deserve it, our Manhattan and Harlem community deserves it.  I will continue to reach out to members of the community, media and political figures to ensure this message gets out.  What are you going to do?

Because words are not enough to describe the deplorable and unsafe conditions of the woman’s locker room, I have attached pictures as proof. I have also listed some of the issues identified within the locker room.

Dirty with a large number of them not working (Flushing and doors not shutting)

Huge water leaks with exposed water accumulating in large garbage bins; peeling paint and mold running down the walls. These areas are not properly sealed to prevent children from touching and potentially hurting themselves. The “Caution” ropes are haphazardly placed and falling in some places.

Exposed fibrous materials and holes around ventilation ducks, walls and ceilings

There are (3) signs that indicate ‘Everyone needs to shower before entering the pool’

However, ONLY (1) shower is “working”, the remaining showers only drips water and as we know when swimmers shower they help reduce the risk of waterborne illnesses, such as diarrhea, swimmer’s ear and skin infections. Fecal matter, in particular, contains germs that may be ingested when swimmers swallow contaminated water. Chlorine and other swimming pool disinfectants help protect swimmers from waterborne germs, but germ destruction is not instantaneous. Additionally, if chlorine is chemically bound to high levels of impurities in the pool, it may be unavailable to carry out its intended task of destroying germs in the water.

Best Regards,

Concerned Harlem Citizen & Parks Department Gym Member

If plans to update and fix the pool and locker room are already in the works for the near future, SOMETHING still needs to be done to make it safe for our children to use the facility each day (until the update is done). This shouldn’t mean shutting it down and affecting usage of the pool this summer.
I should also note, due to my gender I could not see the Men’s locker room, but I can’t imagine it is any better there.