June 24, 1936 – Hamilton Fish Park Pool Opened to the Public

On June 24th of 1936, Hamilton Fish Park Pool was completed and opened to the public.

Constructed by the Work Progress Administration during the Great Depression, it was one of eleven pools built in the city that summer. Hamilton Fish Park Pool was located in what was formerly known as Bone Alley and what is now the intersection of Pitt Street and East Houston. Its construction went a long way towards improving condition in the historically violent neighborhood. Aptly named, Bone Alley was the most densely populated and filthiest place on earth with 1,650 inhabitants and a death rate of 26.06% back in 1897. In June 21st, the New York Times praised the construction, writing, “This is a densely populated tenement area, and the bathing is expected to prove of wide benefit to both children and adults. It will lessen the attractiveness of the disease-ridden East River and also help to keep children off the streets.”

After the million-dollar construction of Hamilton Fish Park Pool, the location became so highly regarded that the US Olympic team used it to practice for the 1952 Helsinki Games. Hamilton Fish Park Pool is named after New York’s 17th Mayor Hamilton Fish.

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