Chinatown YMCA pano - 1000pools

Last year – 2013 – was the best year for The Quest in a long, long time.

A ‘no-nonsense, let’s-do-this-thing, c’mon! focus!’ kind of year that put the train back on the tracks and the target firmly in sight and a host of other mindless cliches too.

Let’s see what 2014 will bring. Yes, let’s.

#327 – Chinatown YMCA, New York City

It took serious commitment to swim this pool. Large amounts of snow had fallen in the weeks prior and now it was all melting. Icy pools, some over a foot deep, clustered at the intersections. I figured only I was hard-core enough to even consider swimming in such weather. But of course, I was wrong.

It was pumping inside this place. Chinatown is hardly a sleepy, forgotten corner of Manhattan, but even I was surprised by how many people were doing laps on the day I arrived. I suppose it’s just south of mid-town, so unless you’re a member of a gym that’ll cost you an arm and a leg each month in membership, this is probably the closest year round pool to the heart of Manhattan.

The panorama above is taken from the front steps looking across East Houston.

Location here

#328 – YMCA McBurney 14th St, New York City

I sincerely hope the staff who work at this place never see this blog because I have absolutely no recollection of this pool. Even the distinctive mural on the wall behind me doesn’t bring to mind a single, potent image or memory.

I’ve said it elsewhere, but if you decide to build a ton of buildings roughly the same size, hide swimming pools in their basements (again, roughly the same size), don’t be surprised if the International pool bloggers who come through the door fail to recall every detail. Even a mural won’t help, sometimes.

Clearly nothing horrendous happened during my visit (otherwise I’d have surely let you know about it), but more than that, I cannot say.

Location here

#329 – Bronx YMCA, New York City

OK. This one I can remember. The Bronx is hard to forget, shall we say.

I public travelled it (took me three different buses) on an overcast, cold day and discovered a very nice YMCA situated on the shores of Westchester Creek. Hardly anyone there too. And they even smiled at me when I started taking selfies.

I got a lot of reading done to and from this place, but one of the nicer YMCA’s around.

Location here

#330 – Vanderbilt YMCA, New York City

I don’t wear swimming caps willy-nilly. I don’t have hair. But in NYC you do what the Vanderbilt’s (or their representatives) say and if they say, ‘It’s for hygiene reasons,’ or, ‘It’s our policy,’ or, ‘We think you’d look fetching in one of these,’ I’ve learnt to just smile and nod. People aren’t usually offering their opinion.

Down in the East 40’s and close to Grand Central, the staff here were actually very nice. My goggles burst, or broke, or whatever they did, so I was swimming blind. In my broad and charming Hugh Jackman-inspired Aussie accent, I asked the lifeguard if she had a spare set and in moments, Hey Presto!, she handed me some and I was back pool conquering.

Location here

Porpoise blue for map

Aquatic Regards, The Porpoise

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