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Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Hayes Pool is closed, for now

Earlier this year, our childhood friend Michael sent us some photos of how the neighborhood we grew up in -- in the Ironbound section of Newark -- looks today. One of the shots that we displayed on this blog was a picture of Hayes Park East Pool, the public swimming pool where we spent many a summer day throughout our childhoods.

It was a pretty forlorn-looking place, even considering that the photo was taken in the dead of winter:

But more recently, news has reached us of a wonderful development. Hayes Park, and the pool, are being renovated, thanks to the generosity of some folks who love the City of Newark and want to see it rise up again under its new leader, Mayor Corey Booker. A story about the project in the Newark-based Star-Ledger, sent to us by our correspondent Michael, is here, and even The New York Times had the news recently.

That photo accompanying the Times story is a real kick. Word has been trickling out that good things are trying to happen in Newark, but that image brings the news home to us like never before. Good for the city.

In the short term, though, the temporary closure of the pool has got to be tough. When the mercury really starts climbing in the mid-to-late summer, that place is a safety valve, and this year it will be unavailable. We remember that for one summer when we were kids, the pool was closed due to a serious drought that was affecting the whole region. We were told that there simply wasn't enough water to fill it up. A couple of our buddies were photographed sitting outside the closed pool complex with glum looks on their schoolboy faces, and the photo appeared on the front page of the Ledger.

No doubt there are some equally disappointed kids this year, but it sounds as though they're really going to have something to cheer about next year. Let's hope that everybody figures out some safe, fun alternate ways to keep cool between now and then.

Comments (2)


Hello Jack, long time friend, first time responder.
Geez, a blog, this is what you needed back in the sixties. Before this, all you had was me on the Bedfords front stoop complaining about school, the bus to Jersey City, and the fact that we were too young to buy beer. The image of Hayes pool is burned in my mind (yes, its something I retained, I'm down to two arteries, but I have my mind)as
kids we could not imagine its closing. I prefer to think of it as it was, before they filled the diving pool up with dirt. after my brother Edward's
funeral service I took a ride to Waydell St. I can still look around and see all the buildings the way it used to be,even Bedfords stoop. If you really think hard on it, you can smell the pizza. Have a great life, your family looks great. talk to you in another 30 years. Mike

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