Friday, January 23, 2009

The Jamaica Swimming Pool

In yet another example of how the “good ol’ days” really were better, allow me to present a page torn from an advertising booklet of some sort that I found in my parents’ papers after they passed away. It’s obviously from 1938, judging by the text of the 50¢ coupon, and depicts a very lively scene where the local residents enjoyed the pleasures of the Jamaica Swimming Pool (which was actually in Richmond Hill, formerly Dunton, as Jamaica begins on the eastern side of the Van Wyck Expressway–correctly pronounced Van Wyke).

(Click on image to enlarge)

My brother Harold used to frequent that pool and, from what I’d been told, won prizes there for his swimming and diving skills. I remember the pool still being at its location, at the southwest corner of 101st Avenue and the Van Wyck Expressway (formally Jerome Avenue and Van Wyck Boulevard, and before that, Broadway and Van Wyck Boulevard) when I was growing up there in the late 1940’s and throughout the 1950’s. It was closed and looked abandoned for most of the years that I lived in the area.

At some point in time when I wasn’t looking, they tore it all down and erected the building seen below (view of the southeast corner from the southbound service road of the Van Wyck; 101st Avenue is at the upper right).

I never really knew what it was used for; it was probably some light manufacturing business or maybe the home base for a construction company. Whatever it was, it isn’t that anymore and has become another boarded-up, graffiti-emblazoned eyesore. What someone should do is tear it all down and put up another swimming pool for the local residents to use!

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